Everyone expected Wylie golfer Karson Grigsby to win district and advance to regionals this year, but whether or not the team would advance was much less certain.
After all, the five-member varsity included two freshmen and a sophomore transfer from Clyde. Plus, Wylie’s district was brutal with four really good golf programs and only two regional spots.
But the young golfers stepped up at the right time and made it happen.
“Our goal was to make the regional tournament,” said freshman Casen James. “We wanted to make it to state of course and fell a little short, but we wanted to make it past district and make it to the next level.”
That wasn’t as easy to do as it sounds.
“We had a really strong district,” Coach Mike Campbell said. “There were four really good teams. We were able to get through it and finish 2nd. That was huge for us.”
Wylie was actually in 3rd place after the first round of the district tournament – five strokes behind the 2nd place team. But Wylie came back in the second round and pushed into second.
“We came up big at the right time,” Campbell said. “We passed them up in the final round. It was really close, real exciting and a great experience for the guys. It’s really going to benefit them going into next year and into the future.”
Regionals did not go the way any one had hoped. The team was in contention, but fell short, and Grigsby, who went to state as a freshman and a junior, had a rare bad round and failed to qualify in his senior season.
“It happens to the best of them even on the PGA tour,” Campbell said. “He came back the 2nd day and played really well. He had a little too much ground to make up. He gave it 100 percent, everything he had. He had a really great high school career.”
Next year Karson will be off playing at ACU, and the team’s other senior, Tyler Cook, will also have graduated.
But they leave behind three young team members who got a taste of regionals and are more motivated than ever to get back.
“It was a lot of pressure for us, and it’s a new situation for us,” Casen said. “Next year we will come in a little bit more prepared, and we will make a good run at it.”
Jaxon Potter, who is also a freshman, agreed.
“It was fun,” he said. “It’s the biggest tournament I’ve ever played. Getting to see those players that are D1 athletes and trying to be like them, it’s amazing. If we all work hard this summer, we have a good chance. It’s a matter of us putting in the work.”
Ty Broadfoot, the team’s sophomore, said that playing with someone like Karson, who has had a lot of success, helped him improve his game.
“He helped me a lot with my mental game and controlling myself on the golf course,” Ty said. “He kind of mentored me. He helped me a lot. He’s someone to look up to. That drives me to be better.”
One of the guys who will have to step up next year and fill the void left by the two departing seniors is Jett Long, who filled in on varsity at some tournaments this season and traveled with the team to regionals to cheer them on.
“It was rough conditions both days,” he said. “I was encouraging them all the way. It was a nice experience. It was a learning experience. I’m fairly confident for next year. We are starting as a solid team. I think we are going to go far.”
Coach Campbell said fighting to get through district and then playing at regionals will definitely help the young team next year.
“It’s going to be huge,” he said. “Especially playing at regionals in a big event. It’s probably one of the toughest courses they’ve played in tournament competition. Just the moment is going to benefit them.”
By Candy Reagan