Ca­toosa_walk­er_news The 2018 Walker County Golfers of the Year

Walker County Messenger - - Sports - By Scott Herpst

The past three sea­sons have seen a resur­gence in the girls’ golf pro­gram at Gor­don Lee High School with a fifth-place show­ing in Class 2A in 2016, a tie for the Class 1A pub­lic school state cham­pi­onship last year and a run­ner-up fin­ish this past May.

And two rea­sons for that resur­gence are ju­niors Ma­call Miller and Jes­sica Hick­man.

Starters since their fresh­man year, the duo have put the Lady Tro­jans firmly on the state golf map and to­day, both are rec­og­nized as the 2018 Girls’ Golfers of the Year for Walker County.

It is the third such award for Miller and the first for Hick­man.

Miller opened the spring on a high note as she shot a 75 at the Dal­ton Coun­try Club dur­ing the Dal­ton Lady Cat In­vi­ta­tional, in­clud­ing go­ing 1-un­der par on the back nine. It was her ca­reer-low round and one shot off the Gor­don Lee school record, a 74 put up by Rachel Ma­son nearly a decade ago.

She fol­lowed up at the Her­itage Lady Gen­eral In­vi­ta­tional at Nob North later in the year by shoot­ing an 89 in ex­tremely windy con­di­tions to make the All-Tour­na­ment Team. Shortly there­after, her 79 gave her low medal­ist hon­ors at the Area 3-A tour­na­ment in LaFayette and she went on to shoot scores of 81 and 91 at the state tour­na­ment in Greensboro to fin­ish fourth over­all.

“I started off the year re­ally good down in Dal­ton,” she ex­plained. “The 1-un­der par on the back re­ally gave me mo­ti­va­tion to do well the rest of the season. Af­ter that, it was pretty steady with high 70s and low 80s. The first day at state was pretty good. I wasn’t hit­ting it great, but I got it around. On the sec­ond day, though, I just re­ally couldn’t get it done.”

Mean­while, Hick­man was an­other steady per­former in nine­hole matches and tour­na­ments all season long.

She be­gan the season with a 90 in Dal­ton to help the Lady Tro­jans fin­ish fifth over­all, while her 99 at the windy Lady Gen­eral In­vi­ta­tional pro­pelled Gor­don Lee a fourth--place show­ing. She carded a 90 at the 3-A tour­na­ment to help send her team to a com­fort­able vic­tory.

But Hick­man would save her best for last, turn­ing in rounds of 84 and 85 at the state tour­na­ment to fin­ish as the in­di­vid­ual state run­ner-up for the clas­si­fi­ca­tion.

“It’s ex­cit­ing to get the award,” she said. “I wasn’t re­ally ex­pect­ing it. I started out (the season) a lit­tle rough. I was hit­ting it pretty well, but I couldn’t re­ally chip or putt. How­ever, my dad helped me work on some stuff and I got my scores down to the mid80s, which I was su­per ex­cited about.”

She said she was thrilled about fin­ish­ing as the state run­ner-up.

“I was a lit­tle ner­vous,” she con­tin­ued. “I had never played that course be­fore and I knew it was go­ing to be a lit­tle bit tougher than the other cour­ses I had played, so I was just hop­ing for some­thing in the high 80s or low 90s. But then I was hit­ting it straight. I never re­ally got into any trou­ble and I ended up shoot­ing in the mid-80s, so I was ex­cited about that too.”

Miller said it was great to share the award with her team­mate.

“I wasn’t ex­pect­ing it since Jes­sica beat me at state,” Miller added. “She de­served it. She re­ally does amaz­ing, but it does feel good. It still gives me con­fi­dence that I can do it.”

Both girls said the fo­cus is al­ready on their se­nior sea­sons and, hope­fully, an out­right state team ti­tle for the pro­gram.

“We’re go­ing to prac­tice all summer to try to get those in­di­vid­u­als scores to go down and then we’ll try it again next year,” Hick­man said.

Gor­don Gd L Lee’s ’M Ma­call ll Mill Miller (l (left) ft) and dJ Jes­sica i Hi Hick­man k are th the 2018 Gi Girls’ l ’G Golfers lf of f th the Y Year f for W Walker lk C County. t (Ph (Photo tbS by Scott tt H Herpst) t)

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