Two weeks ago, the Maumelle Hornets captured the 4A-4 conference golf title by 34 strokes over Mena. Today, they contend for the 4A state title at Thunder Bayou in Blytheville.
At the conference tournament, the exciting part was determining who would be the medalist as Caleb Kubacak and Austin Freeman tied for the honors with scores of 73. A playoff followed with Freeman sinking a 25-foot putt on the second hole to take the friendly competition and get the medal. Ryan Spurlock finished with a score of 77, and Hunter Matthews broke 80 with a 79. The top three scores count in the team total.
Coach Michael Shook sees the Hornets as one of four teams who have a shot at the state title. He believes the competition will come down to Valley View, the host school for the tournament, Maumelle, Arkansas Baptist and Ozark. Last year, Valley View finished runner-up with the Hornets next in third place.
"All four teams have a chance of winning," Shook said. "I think us and Valley View are a little better than the other teams with our three and four guys being solid golfers."
Shook said the Hornets and Valley View’s one and two golfers equal out and believes the quest for a state title could be a competition between the third or fourth golfers on the teams.
"My third guy is Austin, and he ended up winning (conference)," Shook said. "The playoff refocused Caleb. The guys are pretty confident. The wind is the biggest factor."
At the girls’ state tournament last week, Shook said it was windy during the practice round, but not so the next day for the competition. To help his players, he took them to play the course last Saturday plus they practiced yesterday on the course.
In the girls’ state competition, sophomore Shelby Radon shot a 111 to finish in the middle of the pack at 32. She qualified for state after shooting a 102 at the conference tournament and being the third of the next four individuals not on a team who qualify for state.
"This is her first year playing golf, and in her group, she beat one of the girls who has been playing golf for several years," Shook said. "She told me several times, but reaffirmed after state that golf was becoming her favorite sport. At conference she shot a 51 and a 51, and those were her best rounds. She played better at the end."