The Marble Falls High School boys golf team shot a 320-328–648 during the two-day Class 4A state tournament May 22-23 at The Legends Golf Course in Kingsland.
The score was good enough to finish 10th at the tournament.
While the accomplishments of the 2022-23 season won’t be quickly forgotten, head coach Ricky Blackington noted three lettermen — Kolton Pannell, Ross Oelschleger and Porter Vinson — will return next year and added that some talented rising freshmen have the ability to contribute immediately led by Camilo Montez and John Alan Whittle.
The eighth-graders won the district title in 2023 and Montez was the individual district champion.
“They have depth and a couple of standouts who could immediately contribute,” Blackington said.
At the beginning of this school year, Blackington had the same insight, the same feelings about this year’s varsity squad. He believed it had the ingredients to do what hadn’t been done in two decades.
Qualify for the state tournament as a team.
The reasons were because the Mustangs played throughout the summer, and the early practices showed it. And most importantly, the golfers had one important trait that’s the foundation for success.
“We were excited to compete,” said Blackington, who finished his second year as the head coach. “I knew we had the tools. It was a matter of working together and executing. As individual players, each part has to perform as a unit. We had to believe in each other. I believe that’s probably the key ingredient and having the fortitude to believe day in and day out.”
The gap between the Class 4A Region III tournament — where Marble Falls finished as the runner-up — and the state tournament is a month. Blackington noted the Mustangs did what teams living so close to the course are supposed to do — hit the links to know it inside and out. They participated in a warm-up tournament where they shot a 295, which was better than any score by the top three teams at the state tournament.
Blackington said he was encouraged by the 295 and so were the golfers, who felt ready to compete. The coach acknowledged the team didn’t perform as well as it had hoped at the state tournament. The team was led by Holley, who scored an 80-76–156 to finish 31st in the individual standings. Bode Moss scored an 81-82–163 and Kolton Pannell shot a 76-87–163. Vinson scored an 83-85–168. Oelschleger shot an 84-85–169.
“Regardless, I am extremely proud of them,” the coach said. “From day one of the season, they have invested so much effort and work. Getting to state is a major accomplishment in and of itself.”
He was pleased to see Pannell’s first round score of 76 that Holley equaled on the second day, and Moss, on his final hole as a high school player, had “a beautiful birdie” in a bounce-back after tripling the same hole a day earlier.
“Ross was a stand-out player as he fired two solid scores both days for him,” Blackington said. “His season average was about nine strokes higher. Again, so proud of each guy.”
The finish capped an unprecedented season. It’s the first time the Marble Falls boys golf team qualified for the state tournament in two decades.
“These guys love the game, and that’s what propelled them,” he said. “Because of their love and vision, they were willing to put in the extra effort, and it showed in different parts of the season. We’re excited about the new players coming in from the middle school. We want to make another positive run.”
Watch videos on Highland Lakes sports by going to Fierro’s YouTube channel and searching for The Broad Podcaster. Please like, subscribe and share.
CAPTION: Marble Falls golfer Coby Holley shot the Mustangs’ lowest score at the Class 4A state tournament and is expected to return next year. Courtesy photo