Bobby Peschel finally has enough gold, silver and bronze saved up that he can retire comfortably.
The Salado golf coach plans to retire from coaching after 10 years at Salado and 42 overall and he has more than earned the right.
He’s arguably the most decorated coach in Central Texas. But, of course, few people know his name.
He isn’t Bob Shipley or Todd Dodge. The Brownwood and Marble Falls football coaches might be the most known coaches in the state.
But even Dodge, with his run at Southlake Carroll, might not have as much cachet as Peschel.
He led the Salado boys and girls golf teams to five total team championships — two with the boys and three with the girls. And there have been four individual golds and three silvers.
“For Salado golf, (competing at state) is a way of life — this state tournament is what we live by,” Peschel said. “(And) you never turn medals down.”
It started with Ryan O’Rear. The current Baylor senior won three straight individually and led Salado to back-to-back team championships in 2008-09.
It continued with Taylor O’Rear and Rachel Van Hoozer, who both took home the individual silver medals and team gold in their time playing for the Lady Eagles.
Now, it was Meredith Ward and Dane Hankamer’s turn.
And just like those who preceded them, they delivered.
Ward took home the silver and the Salado girls won their program’s sixth Class 2A state golf title with a two-day 719 (355-364) to finish 30 strokes ahead of state runner-up Sonora.
After bogeying seven of the front nine holes, Hankamer was only 1-over-par on the back nine, including parring his final three holes Friday to shoot a two-day 156 (77-79) and win the individual Class 2A state golf championship.
Ward earned her silver medal the hard way — in a playoff.
Both Van Hoozer and O’Rear got their silver medals after losing a playoff for first place.
Ward got hers by winning it. It may not have been pretty, but it got the job done.
Ward, Howe’s Emily Taylor and Alpine’s Rashae Skillem each teed off out of bounds. Ward and Taylor’s hooked left and into the woods and Skillem’s went into the lake to the right of the green.
But from there, Ward hit out of it. The others could not.
For that, she changed her metal from bronze to silver.
“Bogey golf is always good, and I’ve always told myself that — (it’s) whatever it takes, and I’m not going to complain about winning it on a bogey,” Ward said.
Golf is a sport of individuals. You are out there by yourself. It is you versus the greens, the pins and the hazards.
But Peschel has always found a way to make it a team sport.
As the lone senior and the only member to actually win a state championship, Ward took a motherly approach to helping lead the Salado girls golf team, helping them and cheering them on as needed. Teaching them what Peschel taught her years ago.
Ward was well ahead of her teammates Friday, but they were there making their share of bogeys and pars to ensure the Lady Eagles sent Peschel out with a gold medal. Ward shot a two-day total of 156, Kate Goldsmith carded a 187 (92-95), Sarah Colley finished with a 188 (94-94), junior Rachel Ray shot 190 (89-101) and freshman Molly Rodeffer a two-day 199.
It was a fitting end for the coach, who in 10 years has accomplished it all. The wins gave Peschel even more gold to go out with — and a bit of bronze and a dollop of silver.
Even without Peschel, though, the Eagles will continue to pile up medals.
Because, in Salado, winning golf tournaments is just a way of life.
Contact Nick Talbot at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7569