It wasn’t the finish Mansfield had hoped for at the state tournament, but the Tigers returned to the level of play they have become known for in high school golf.
The Mansfield boys finished sixth at the state tournament at Legacy Hills golf course in Georgetown.
The 6A tournament was won by Southlake Carroll, with Austin Westlake second and Plano West third.
The 2015 appearance by Mansfield marked the sixth time in the last seven years that the Tigers have made it to the state tournament. The team missed the tournament last season, ending their consecutive streak at five.
“It was very gratifying and we’ve built the expectations,” said Mansfield head coach Trampas Wilson. “One of our kids had said that other teams’ goal is to win district, but ours is to win state. We’ve come to expect to be there and expect to win it. No one was truly happy with sixth.”
The team was comprised of Colin Clark, Preston Woodard, Landon Ernst, Zach Howe and Nick Narcisee.
They shot a first day total 296 but struggled on day two, shooting 317, for a total 613. Their score was four shots back of fifth place The Woodlands and 25 shots back of the champion Carroll.
“We had a great first day but we couldn’t get it going after a bad start (on the second day),” Wilson said. “We were even par on the first hold on the first day and we were six over on the second day (on the first hole),” he said.
The difference was possible the change in the weather on day two, including a drop in temperature and strong winds.
The Mansfield first-day total left them in fourth place, just eight strokes out of first place.
Wilson was encouraged with that position after the first day, as the Tigers had played better the second day of tournaments all season.
“We just couldn’t get the momentum back and turn it around,” Wilson said. “It was an uphill battle the whole time. We gutted it out and they did the best they could. We didn’t embarrass ourselves by any stretch.
“In the start of the season, there were about 250 schools. But we didn’t go down there to finish sixth,” Wilson continued. “We went to win it.”
Woodard was the top Tigers golfer, shooting 76-75-151, good enough for the 17th individual spot. Ernst was two shots back at 153.
The Tigers, accustomed to making the state tournament, missed the meet last year but the return this year gave additional experience to the players this year.
“We’ve always had kids that had been there,” Wilson said. “This year, no one had been there so it’s been a learning experience for all of us.”
The experience will be valuable next year, as Woodard (Paris Junior College), Narcisee (Texas Wesleyan), Cameron Carr (Howard Payne) and Esparza (Seminole Junior College) will be off to play at the next level next year.
The desire and ambition of the players is what helps drive the success – year in and year out – for the Mansfield program.
“They want to win a state championship and play college golf,” Wilson said.
Mansfield has sent 45 golfers off to play in college since 1987. Of that total, 22 have received offers in the last seven years during Wilson’s tenure.
Back for next year will be Ernst, Clark and Howe, and Wilson said they’ll relish the experience and be ready to play for another return trip and a hopeful state championship.
The first year of Wilson’s time at Mansfield produced a state tournament team and it has helped set the stage for players to come.
“That started seven years of little kids wanting to carry that white bag,” Wilson said. “Other kids want to be a part of Mansfield golf and wanting to win the state championship.
“We should start next year ranked third or fourth,” Wilson said. “We’ll use this for a burning desire to beat the mark of what we did this year.”