Not many teams could make it to a state tournament with a roster full of underclassmen, but the Grapevine Faith boys golf team did just that. With four sophomores and one senior, the Lions traveled to Glen Rose on May 5-6 and earned fourth place in the TAAPS 4A State Meet.
“They have been working hard all year on what they know,” said head coach Tray Middlebrooks. “As a team we have done well, but it was important individually for them to reach their goals.”
Middlebrooks often refers to a specific quote by Abraham Lincoln when coaching his team through tough times during the season: “If I had four hours to chop down a tree, I would spend the first two hours sharpening my ax.”
“I tell them that’s what they are doing all year. They are sharpening their ax, sharpening their game,” he said. “Then, when it comes down to tougher competition at the end of the year and in playoffs, you will be ready to go because you have been sharpening your game all year.”
This is the first year that the state golf tournament has been held at the Squaw Valley Golf Club in Glen Rose. Previously, the meet had been held in Waco. Two of the Lion’s five golfers had experience on the new course, having played junior events there. The rest of the team had to acclimate quickly during the practice rounds.
“Conditions were perfect but the greens were fair but very fast,” Middlebrooks said. “The guys were all consistent down the middle and good around the greens. Their drives weren’t all over the place and they stayed mentally tough.”
Sophomores Jackson Markham and Blaise Weimer were no strangers to the pressure of postseason play, having both made it to state last year as freshmen. Along with sophomore Dawson Parmley, they have also spent a lot of time playing junior events.
“We have a lot of tournament experience with Jackson and Blaise and Dawson,” Middlebrooks said. “The team has a lot of natural talent but they also all work very hard.”
Sophomore Chase Bonar made his first state appearance, as did senior Caleb Biggers.
“We are losing Caleb after this season,” Middlebrooks said. “He has been a great golfer and team captain, and has shown many character traits with the younger players that have helped him rise to this level. He will be missed.”
Overall, the Lions shot 616 for a two-day total. The score was helped by Weimer’s 72-72, which earned him the number nine spot in the state.
“Blaise completed his round tied with two other golfers for 10th place,” Middlebrooks said. “He beat them all in a playoff to finish ninth.”
Though golf is a team sport, the individual aspect of the game is huge.
“These guys play only one sport and are committed to perfecting their sport. They have a lot of natural talent but they also all work very hard,” Middlebrooks said. “Three or four of them have their sights set on golf scholarships, which is pretty mature at their age.”
Even with the successful season, Middlebrooks said his players are already looking ahead.
“They definitely see that they can set their goals higher for next year and finish first in the state,” he said.
Helping them reach those goals is a whole group of people that Middlebrooks wanted to acknowledge.
“I wanted to say thank you to all of the parents and fans for consistently supporting us,” he said. “Without their support we would not have had the success we have today.”