By Alex Byington
Harker Heights Herald
For the first time this century, Salado golf will not have a team in the UIL state tournament.
But despite a pair of fourth-place team finishes at their respective Region IV-3A championships, marking the first time since 2000 neither advanced, the Eagles and Lady Eagles will still be represented by a pair of medalists.
Senior girls golfer Taylor O'Rear, who finished fifth overall in 2A last year, advanced to her fourth consecutive state tournament with a runner-up finish at Corpus Christi's Oso Beach Golf Course on Tuesday.
"It's going to be weird because I'm used to (my teammates) making me laugh if I didn't play like I had wanted to," O'Rear said. "But I'm just going to have to do it by myself this time."
On the boys side, talented freshman Dane Hankamer moves on after a fourth-place region finish at the Lozano Golf Center, losing in a playoff for third with a two-day total of 152. O'Rear improved from her 85 on Monday to shoot a 75 and finish with a two-day total of 160.
Although they improved on Monday's showing, the Lady Eagles still struggled through the high winds as Leah Ray led with an 89, followed by Meredith Ward (97), Hailee Pipes (99), and freshman Catherine Crouch (103).
Following Hankamer for the boys were Cole Brentham (84), Koby Spears (85), Kyle Heiner (87) and Kase Spears (93).
Belton doubles teams eliminated on first day
Strong starts didn't equal wins for Belton. Both of the Tiger doubles teams were eliminated on the first day of competition Tuesday at the Region II-5A Tennis Tournament at the Waco Regional Tennis Center.
The mixed doubles team of Katie and Jacob Daugherty were eliminated in the quarterfinals by Mario Sandoval and Kelsey Grambeau 7-5, 6-2.
"They came out pretty strong, but they lost a couple of games (in the first set)," said Belton coach Kyle Larson.
In the second set, the doubles team from Garland Naaman Forest again jumped ahead early and the Daughertys couldn't comeback, dropping the set 6-2, and in the process getting eliminated from the region tournament.
The brother-sister duo won their opening- round match, defeating Richardson Lake Highlands' Jonathan Olivo and Hana Ocencia, 6-4, 6-2.
The Belton boys doubles team of Mitch Hollingsworth and Daniel Barron didn't get out of the first round, losing to Karey Manor and Alex Henry of Georgetown, 7-6, 6-2.