After winning the Region II title at Oak Hurst Golf Course on Thursday, April 26, the Lady Bulldogs will represent Howe at the Class 3A state golf tournament, which tees off on Monday, May 21, at the Grey Rock course in Austin.
The Lady Bulldogs golf team — Charlsee Carter, Meradith Ross, Molly Wilson, Peyton Streetman and Kriston Harris — is no stranger to state appearances. Carter, Ross and Wilson were all a part of last year’s state qualifying team that finished eighth in the standings. Playing on the same course as the year before may provide an advantage to the returning players.
“It ought to be an advantage,” head coach Derek Lands said of the course familiarity. “But others can say it, too.”
This year’s appearance marks the third straight season the Lady Bulldogs have qualified for state and the seventh appearance in the past nine years, as well as Carter’s third straight state tournament appearance.
The senior golfer tried her hand at a number of sports throughout her high school athletic career before sticking to golf as her sole sport. The commitment paid off, as Carter announced she will be attending East Texas Baptist University next year on a golf scholarship.
“I started playing when I was a freshman in high school,” Carter said when she signed her national letter of intent, “and the minute I picked up the club for the first time I knew that I could accomplish great things, and from there on I stopped playing all other sports and stuck directly to golf.”
Carter earned herself a five tournament winning streak before falling in the regional qualifiers this year, winning all other competitions.
Meanwhile, golf newcomers Harris and Streetman have proved themselves to be invaluable members of the team. Coach Lands said that Harris, who is only a freshman, will be part of next year’s core, while senior Streetman has kept herself busy with basketball and softball over her tenure at Howe High School.
“The honest truth is she [Streetman] wanted to play golf all four years, but I told her she didn’t have the time,” Lands said, but the well-rounded athlete refused to give up.
Lands said that after she earned herself a softball scholarship to North Texas Central College in Gainsville for the fall, she approached him during basketball season and told him “Coach Lands, I’m playing golf — this is what I want to do.”
The field for the state tournament also includes another Texoma team in Callisburg, Harleton, Shallowater, Sonora, Brock, Rockdale, Cameron Yoe, Nacogdoches Central Heights, Ingram Moore, Lago Vista and Yoakum.
Sonora is the three-time defending state champion, Callisburg was last year’s runner-up, Rockdale took the bronze medal in 2017, Cameron Yoe was fifth, Ingram Moore was seventh and Brock was ninth a year ago.
“If we approach [the state tournament] the way we have all year, will should be fine,” Lands said, adding that pressure would be the only factor holding the girls back. “We haven’t played in three weeks. I think the pressure has kind of come and gone.”
Back on April 26, Howe won the region title with a two-day total of 797 and was 58 shots in front of runner-up Harleton.
Carter led the Lady Bulldogs with a 188 and finished fourth after losing out on a tie-breaker with Sabine’s Macy Rutland for the bronze medal.
Ross tied for sixth with a 191, Wilson tied for 12th with a 205, Streetman shot a 213 and tied for 20th and Harris was 39th with a 233.