At the start of his first year as coach, Brandon Smith did not want to talk much about the Lexington girls golf team's Class 4A state title winnning streak.
But on Oct. 27 at Woodruff's Three Pines Golf Club, the Wildcats sealed their sixth consecutive championship with a two-round 660 team score.
With the streak unbroken, Smith talked with The State about Lexington's sixth title run.
At the beginning of the year, you said you would not focus on the state title streak. What does it feel liketo have continued the streak?
It feels very good. Our girls worked extremely hard, knowing that really the only tournamnet that mattered was the last one. We struggled a little bit at some other events, coming in third and fourth, and were really an underdog this time. Dorman and Wren had both beaten us at another tournament so it was a different position, but we were able to come through and that was great.
The Wildcatstypically have been the favorites in the state tournament. What was it like being an underdog?
Well, it's hard for me to say since I wasn't a part of the other five. But, obviously, we were still expected to contend even though we were not playing our best all season. We tried not to think about that much.
Starting off, we were just focusing on ourselves and we had to focus on doing the best we can do, because we weren't playing with Dorman or Wren, so we couldn't worry about what they were doing. We were focusing on keeping ourselves in it because you can't win it on the first day but you can lose it if you play too badly. We wanted to keep ourselves in position to have a chance to win it on the second day, and we actually came in that Tuesday with a nine-stroke lead.
What are you most proud of about this year's team?
Our girls came through in difficult conditions. We finished up in the dark on what might have been basically an unplayable course with all the rain.
We had a wide range of players with those two seniors down to our 12-year-old seventh grader all coming together. I wasn't sure that we had the five best players, but, when it was all over, there was no doubt we had the best team.
They battled through those elements and they weren't going to let anybody take that trophy from them.
How did you finally pull it off?
We had an 11-shot lead going into the last three holes, and they couldn't even play them in order because the course was so wet. Dorman played really well through those last three holes and we did not do as well so it got really tight those last couple of holes. Maureen (Dunnagan, medalist) came through and finished parring the last three holes in the dark and rain and that was what we needed.
How valuable was senior leadership in such dramatic circumstances?
You can't put a quantitative measure on it. (Maureen's) whole leadership, especially these past two weeks, after the region meet was over, where our whole focus was on the state championship, was invaluable. Her and Kathryn Miranda, their leadership made such a big difference in practice and on the course.
With such a successful program, did you get a lot of support around the school this season?
We couldn't have done it without our administration and without the teachers here. They have been congratulatory to us and just happy. Our overall athletics program here at Lexington is tremendous. Overall our athletics programs as a whole excel and, as the assistant athletics director, I've seen that on the administrative end and now I'm just glad to be a part of it.
What do you think of the 2010 Wildcats?
It's hard to look ahead with this year just ending, but we lose two senior starters and three other seniors, so I would say we're going to be a young team. We've got five middle schoolers coming up and they know what they have to do to be a part of this team, because they've been around it for a while. Hopefully, we'll have two of them step up and fill some shoes so we can maybe make a run at another one.
2009 State Champion Lexington Wildcats
Maureen Dunnagan - Sr.
Kathryn Miranda - Sr.
Jacqui Hardy - Sr.
Sarah Hardy - Sr.
Stephanie Garner - Sr.
Rachel Moore - Jr.
Alasen Strickland - Jr.
Braiden Furtick - So.
Gabby Murphy - So.
Emily Moore - Fr.
Haley Herauf - Fr.
Sydney Legacy - 8th
Morgan Gobbi - 8th
Heather Struckman - 8th
Lauren Stephenson - 7th
Ann Elizabeth Gore - 7th