Catoosa_walker_news The 2018 Walker County Golfers of the Year
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)