Hornets cruise to state golf crown

Published 5:00 am Thursday, May 9, 2002


These guys are good.

Loyd Star’s Hornets marched to the Class 2A State GolfTournament championship Wednesday at the wind-swept Wolf HollowGolf Club. Certainly, it was a team effort.

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For inspiration, the Hornets followed the example of first-roundtournament medalist and freshman teammate Josh Wright. They ate PopTarts for breakfast Wednesday morning and expanded a shaky 3-strokelead to a 17 strokes over runner-up Baldwyn.

It was a matter of the Hornets getting their act together. TrentMaddox, the only senior on the freshman-laden team, rebounded froman opening round 85 to shoot 3-over 75 on Wednesday.

“I just played smart golf,” explained Maddox. “I putted prettygood. I didn’t miss 3-footers like I did yesterday.”

Golf can be a complicated, frustrating game. Deeply disappointedby his first-round performance, Maddox started the second roundwith back-to-back bogeys. He would recover, sink a 4-foot birdieputt on the par-3 eighth hole and notch just one more bogey, making14 pars the rest of the round.

Loyd Star coach Ricky Myers smiled with satisfaction. His teamwas favored to win their first-ever state title and the pressurewas suffocating. “Our kids showed a lot of character today. Trentwalked up to me before he started today and said, ‘Coach, I knowthis is it.'”

Maddox is looking forward to playing for the Copiah-LincolnCommunity College golf team next year. Right now he is enjoying thechampionship. This is Loyd Star’s first state title of any kindsince the 1991 Lady Hornets won the basketball tournament.

Wright’s first-round 75 provided a spark for the Hornets. His2-day total of 75-83-158 landed him a berth on the All-StateTournament team. He was joined by teammates Maddox and BlakeWindham, another freshman; on the dream team.

“We are a young team and we have a good future,” said Wright. “Iputted a lot better in the first round.”

Windham was the most consistent of the Hornets, shooting81-80-161. “The wind was rough. I had to hit 5-iron coming in onNo. 9. I usually hit 9-iron,” from 150 yards.

Freshman Chris Hester didn’t figure in Loyd Star’s team totalbut he produced the biggest turnaround. Hester improved his firstround 96 by 16 strokes and shot 83.

Loyd Star junior Jody Britt probably authored the most unusualstory of the tournament. He went to bed Tuesday night with anabscessed tooth. His mother didn’t want him to play Wednesday.Britt was still limping from 5-week old ACL surgery on his rightknee. He used a pull cart to negotiate the hilly terrain.

The second round started cruelly for Britt. His first two teeshots went deep in the woods on the left side of the fairway. Hewound up shooting a quintuple 10 after a 3-putt. Mental toughness,something football coaches preach, came to the front and Britt wasonly 5-over on the next 17 holes, shooting an 82 to go withTuesday’s 81.

“Jody showed a lot of courage out there today,” said CoachMyers. “He could have packed it in after that first hole.

“I’m proud of our team,” Myers continued. “We outworked everybody.” The Hornets finished third in last year’s state tournamentwith a 666. This time they were 24 strokes better.

Myers had challenged his team last year and they responded. Manyof the Hornets made the daily hike across Wolf Hollow during thesweltering summer months. The work ethic worked wonders.

One of the opposing coaches complimented Myers for thesportsmanship displayed by the Hornets. “Thank you. We work hard onthat aspect, too.”

Dressed in broad red and white striped knit shirts and khakipants, the Hornets looked and played like a team.

Baldwyn (660) wilted in the second round as temperatures climbedinto the 90s. Gulfport St. John (677) was a distant third andMadison St. Joseph (685) was fourth. Bruce (690) was next, followedby Hatley (711), Clarkdale (728) and Ackerman (757).

Baldwyn’s Nick Armstrong was tournament medalist with a 153.Trae Belk (161) of Mooreville and Blake McMillian (162) of Newtonalso made the all-tournament team.

Ann Herring of Winona, the only girl in the tournament, shot95-85-180. She has relatives in Lincoln County.

After the Hornets had posed for their photo shoot alongside theninth green with medallions, state tournament trophy and otherawards, Windham smiled and surveyed the scene. “I’m tired right nowand I don’t feel much like playing golf. By tomorrow I’ll be readyto play again.”