Looking at her competition, Meredith Ward had all but given up hope.
Two weeks after coming up short to a gold medalist, the Salado senior golfer was now facing two — state champions in her own sport no less.
But Ward forgot the power of her own gold medals, the one she won Friday after leading the Lady Eagles to the program’s sixth Class 2A title and the one three years ago when she cared a 100 to score for championship No. 5 in 2010.
And thanks to a dedication from her mother, who set the alarm on her phone to remind her to vote once every hour, Ward won the KDHpressbox.com Player of the Week honor for April 28-May 4 after leading Lady Eagles with a two-day 719 (355-364) at the 2A state golf tournament in Austin.
“I’m very excited and very shocked,” Ward said.
“It was unexpected but I couldn’t have won it without my mom and everyone from school and other family members — my brothers were telling everybody like, ‘Go vote for my little sister, she’s up again for Player of the Week.’ It just means a lot to me to know they have my back and they’re supporting me through this whole golf season.”
Ward finished second individually after winning a three-way playoff with a two-day 156 (80-76), including a 5-over-par 76 on Friday with six pars on the back nine holes.
“To win this is kind of like icing on the cake, I guess, after winning the state championship, it’s just another little extra honor and I’m just really excited and happy and really thankful for everyone that voted for me,” Ward said.
Ward bested Salado junior and 2A boys individual champion Dane Hankamer with 308 of the 441 total votes (69.8 percent). Hankamer, who fired a first-day 77 for a two-day 156 and helped the Salado boys to a third-place team finish at state, pulled in the other 133 votes.
Belton junior Andrew Paysse rounded out the all-golf ballot after carding a first-day 67 and a two-day 138 to win the Class 5A individual state championship.
“To hear that I was on there again, I was just like, ‘What?’ and then going up against Dane and Andrew, I was like, ‘There’s no way I’m going to win,’” she said. “I just really wasn’t expecting to win.”
Ward recently took second in the POW voting two weeks ago when Shoemaker thrower Cion Hicks won after winning both the discus and the shot put at the District 7/8-5A area track and field meet.
It is Ward’s second Player of the Week award this school year, previously winning it for the week of Dec. 2-8 as a member of the Lady Eagles basketball team after a 23-point, 11-rebound game against Austin St. Michaels during the 11th annual Coach Smith Memorial Tournament.