KYLE — It was a surreal situation.
For the entirety of his high school career, Braden Luensmann dreamed of becoming a part of Gatesville’s legacy and following in the footsteps of prior players who experienced success at state with the program.
The fantasy became reality Tuesday.
Playing his final round with the Hornets, Luensmann helped guide the team to a third-place showing at the UIL Class 4A state golf tournament, and following the outing, he admitted forcing himself to break away.
“I just wanted to play the best I could and block everything out,” Luensmann said. “I didn’t want to think about the scores or anything, and then it just kind of hit me that I was playing good.
“But before every tee shot, I had to take a deep breath to relax myself, because I was really nervous all day.”
Luensmann shaved six strokes off his opening round to finish with a 82-76—158, complementing sophomore Evan Washburn, who posted a team-low 76-74—150 to tie for 11th individually.
Cameron Hudson (79-80—159), Caleb Washburn (93-86—179) and Cooper Smith (86-94—180) rounded out the Hornets’ scores.
With a 307-301—608, Monahans won the state championship at Plum Creek Golf Course, while Argyle (329-299—628) edged Gatesville by 11 strokes to claim second place. The 323-316—639 was punctuated by the Hornets’ best round of the season, and after placing 10th at state last season, Gatesville head coach Guy Dean could not be happier with the performance.
“Sometimes not playing well can be a great lesson and help you play better in the future,” he said. “I know the guys who returned from last year wanted to get back here.
“So, I’m just really proud for them to step up on the big stage like they did.”
It is a formula Salado will attempt to replicate.
Comprised of three sophomores and a pair of juniors, the Eagles finished tied for 10th with Huffman Hargrave after shooting a 334-333—667.
Now, Salado head coach Scott Ringo expects his players to build on the showing.
“Making it back to state is definitely going to be a goal of ours next year,” he said, “but we have to work hard, because nothing is guaranteed.
“We want to enjoy this experience, but it is already time to go to work to make sure that it happens again.”
After entering the day situated second overall, Eagles junior James Perry emerged in a three-way tie for eighth place, shooting a 72-76—148. Junior teammate Cayden Meyer narrowly missed the first sub-80 round of his career by posting a 85-80—165, while Caleb Altum (87-88—175), Derek Mullinix (90-89—179) and Logan Rickey (91-96—187) completed Salado’s scoring.
Jack Burke, of Little Cypress-Mauriceville, won the individual championship with a 71-70—141.
Like Salado, Gatesville is also already looking ahead, anticipating making the program’s 10th state appearance since 2006 next season, and with four sophomores on the roster, the Hornets are poised to accomplish the task.
“This was a big boost for all of us,” Evan Washburn said. “We all gained a lot of confidence, and we’ll carry that over into next year.
“Hopefully, we’re able to come back and do the it all again.”
4A STATE GOLF LEADERBOARD
- 1. Monahans 307-301—608
- 2. Argyle 329-299—628
- 3. Gatesville 323-316—639
- T10. Salado 334-333—667
- 1. Jack Burke, LC-Mauriceville 71-70—141
- 2. Logan Diamede, Argyle 74-69—143
- 3. Miller Harris, Carthage 73-71—144
- T8. James Perry, Salado 72-76—148