NEW BRAUNFELS — Some things defy explanation.Count New Braunfels Davenport’s qualification to the UIL Class 4A state girls golf championships among them.
Davenport, Comal ISD’s fourth high school that opened last fall, advanced to the state tournament following a resounding 51-stroke victory at the Region IV-4A championship April 19-20 at Colony Creek Golf Course in Victoria.
“We honestly didn’t expect to make it this far after watching other teams have all upperclassmen,” said freshman Belle Asbury, the Wolves’ No. 1 golfer. “It’s pretty astonishing.”
That might be an understatement. The upstart Wolves have carried only five players for the most of season.
Three are freshmen to go with one junior and one sophomore. Only one — McKenna Martin, who previously attended Clemens — has varsity experience. Sophomore Amy Schoenenberger attended New Braunfels Canyon last year.
That youth hasn’t slowed down the Wolves, who won the District 28-4A title by 10 strokes before recording their blistering effort at regionals that left Martin wondering, “How did we do that?”
Davenport coach Terrell Johnston believes his team’s youth has been plus as the team established itself.
Monday and Tuesday
6A: Legacy Hills GC, Georgetown
5A: White Wing GC, Georgetown
4A: Plum Creek GC, Kyle
3A: Shadow Glen GC, Manor
2A: Legends GC, Kingsland
1A: Lighthouse CC, Kingsland
“I don’t think there was a lot of stress and a lot of anxiety because they had never done it before,” Johnston said.
The Wolves will make their state tournament debut Monday at Plum Creek Golf Course in Kyle, site of the girls 4A state tournament. The two-round tournament concludes Tuesday.
Ask any of the Wolves, that wasn’t the plan when they began play last fall.
“Honestly, no,” Martin said. “In fall, our scores were pretty high. There’s been such big improvement from where we started. We’ve worked really hard, and we deserve this.”
As the team’s most experienced player, Johnston leaned on Martin to help the team during the early stages of getting the program established.
As Clemens’ No. 5 golfer a year ago, Martin is playing a different role.
“There definitely was a burden being the only junior on the team and the oldest,” Martin said. “It was interesting feeling like I had to compete to be out there.”
Although she’s one of the team’s youngest players, Asbury established herself as one of team’s leaders.
“Belle is very confident, and she really got us motivated to win,” Schoenenberger said. “She really wanted to go regionals and at least place in district.”
Asbury’s fellow freshmen, Madeline Pate and Amber Bassett, complete the team.
Where they started to where they are now comparison is astonishing. The Wolves carded a 429 in their first competition round last fall.
At the regional meet, the Wolves tallied a season-best 343 in the first round and backed it with a 346 to close out strong.
All five of Davenport’s golfers finished in the top 25, led by Asbury’s seventh-place performance (163). Martin and Pate tied for tenth (174).
“It was a fight to get consistently under 400,” Johnston said. “But the girls have put in the time and effort (to improve) with no complaining.”
The Wolves captured the regional crown on their first overnight trip of the season. Everything worked out better than expected.
“Our main goal was to have fun and just be happy with that,” Asbury said. “To be honest, we were just happy we were going to be able to stay in a hotel with our team because we are all very close.”
Next up for Davenport is state. The goal is simple.
“I just want us to get more experience playing golf at the state and regional level just so we are more comfortable with it,” Asbury said. “When you are comfortable, you can play better. You can make more logical decisions about your shots.”