With finals week fast approaching, most students at Sealy High School were focused on studying and summer plans for the future but one sophomore had something very different on her mind.
Sophomore Maddie Goad was the only Sealy golfer who advanced to the state tournament at the Slick Rock Golf Course in Horseshoe.
Goad shot a score of 87 on the first day of the tournament and finished up a day later with a score of 88 for a total of 175. The score tied her for 30th place out of 72 golfers and Goad said finishing in the top half was something she is proud of.
“It was probably the hardest course I’ve played that I can remember because it’s long and I’m not the longest hitter and has some challenging shapes,” she said. “I’m really happy with where I ended up because the winner really deserved it and everyone played really well and really it just comes down to who’s feeling it that week.”
Goad’s performance came after a rough start to the week. She and her coach and father Lonnie Goad traveled to Horseshoe early to participate in the practice round that was scheduled for the golfers on Sunday but it was canceled when severe weather hit.
To make sure she was able to get some practice in before starting the tournament, the two hit the road again to find a course that was open. Goad said it was jarring to have to change plans but didn’t affect her play when the tournament began.
“It worried me a little bit but I actually met someone who lives there and he helped talk out the course with me and that helped calm my nerves,” she said. “I think without the practice round, I did pretty well so I’m glad it didn’t throw me off.”
She also said that one of the things that helped her deliver two consistent scores on consecutive days was for several reasons.
“I like to play a higher shot and land softly and Slick Rock played more to that and was better built to fit how I play,” Goad said. “I have a lot more focus on harder courses and I like a challenge so that motivated me throughout.”
One of the things that fueled her motivation was something that is commonly thought of as nerve-inducing: a number of family, friends and mentors come out to watch her play. Those who were in attendance included Goad’s mother, aunt, grandmother the wife of a Coach Goad’s long-time family friend and several members of the Sealy Athletic Department.
“I wasn’t really that nervous because I always like a crowd when I play because it gives me a reason to try harder and succeed more,” she said.
Ultimately, Goad said going to state was an overwhelmingly positive experience for her especially given the two years she has left to compete in golf at Sealy High School. With a
number of eighth-grade golfers coming into their freshman year, she is ready to be a leader with her classmate Sloan Strickland.
“Getting to that level, really just validated to myself that I can be good enough to do this again and it helped me gain that confidence,” she said. “I’m excited for me and Sloan to take the girls out to dinners and practices and create a family-type of team for the future.”