While Summar was just a brilliant in the fall, Conway golf continued to shine this week.
The Wampus Cats’ Summar Roachell, as a sophomore, won her second straight 7A state individual title Wednesday, dominating the field in a two-day tournament at Greystone Country Club in Cabot. She’ll defend her overall title in a couple of weeks.
Her goal is to be state champion all four years of high school golf.
"But I know it’s not going to get easier because there’re some good golfers coming up," Roachell said. "I know people will be shooting at me. I know I have to keep working."
Roachell’s individual effort overshadowed a team performance by the Conway girls, who were runners-up in 7A for the second straight year and won their seventh straight Central Conference championship. The conference title was determined by the best score among league teams on the first day of competition and the Conway golfers ran away with that with Roachell earning all-state honors and joining teammate Bryce Wolfe on the all-conference team.
About 40 miles away on a course with similar rolling hills and wooded areas, the St. Joseph girls won their fifth straight 2A title — besting a field that ranged about as far north-south as you can go in this state — from Parkers Chapel (El Dorado) to Eureka Springs. That tournament was at The Greens at Nutters Chapel, one of the state’s newest courses.
Farther away, another former Conway standout, Mary Michael Maggio, has become the No. 2 golfer on LSU women’s team, which became the No. 1-ranked team in the country this week after besting defending national champion Purdue in a tournament.
The tradition of Conway golf gained more energy.
And that’s the key word.
"We’ve developed a lot of pride in our program and our girls play during the summer, they play with their families and they play with other good golfers, which makes them better," said St. Joseph coach Chris Kordsmeier. "Most of our girls have played in state tournaments. They knew what to expect and how to handle the pressure. I was very proud of how they handled the pressure and with several people watching.
"But we have expectations. Our girls go our expecting to win."
And that relates to a key to golf success in Conway. Through generations, golfers support and energize each other.
The ones who have achieved success come back and mentor and help the younger ones. The synergy has been consistent through generations.
Roachell was helped and mentored by Maggio, who both were inspired and mentored in their developing years by the Ross sisters and others who had success well before them.
Bryce Molder, the most successful golfer from Conway and one of the most successful ever in the state, inspired Scotty Campbell and Jason Cutherbertson. But in his developing years, Molder was spurred on by decades of great Conway golf tradition involving Coffey and Shocks and Smiths and was mentored very early by the late Willis Watkins and Fred Gordy, who were legendary amateur then senior golfers in the state.
It’s no accident that one of the greatest and ongoing quality products in Conway is great golfers.
And the great ones keep planting seeds for future blooms.
(Sports columnist David McCollum can be reached at 505-1235 or firstname.lastname@example.org)