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Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Friday, May 12, 2006

Eagles take limited experience into state golf

The Pecos Eagles had one veteran, three rookies and one golfer who’s been there, but hasn’t done that on the Jimmy Clay Golf Course in Austin Thursday morning, when they began play in the Class 3A state golf tournament.

The Eagles, who advanced as Region I-3A runners-up behind the Snyder Tigers, were paired with golfers from Atlanta, Bellville and Devine - the other three regional runners-up - on Thursday, in the first round of the 36-hole tournament. Round 2 will be on Friday, and the Eagles will be hoping to be paired by them with the three other leaders after the first 18 holes of play.

It’s the first trip to Austin for golfers Stephanie Galindo, Rica Pino and Carolina Briones, while it will be golfer Shelly Martinez’s third trip in four years to Austin. “Eleanor (Mason) went down there last year as an alternate,” Martinez said on Monday, the day before the Eagles left for Austin.

“I just walked it,” said Mason, who’ll be playing with the No. 2 group while Martinez plays with the No. 1 golfers on both days. “I think it’s similar to the course we played on last week at the Odessa Country Club.”

Pecos and the other state qualifiers will get to play a practice round on the Jimmy Clay course on Wednesday. It’s the same course where Martinez placed third as a medalist last year in the Class 3A state finals. She was a freshman on the Eagles’ 2003 team that finished second to Snyder at state.

As the only Eagle with experience on the course, Martinez said she’s told her team members what to expect this week.

“We have talked about the length of the course and the situations,” she said. “We’ve talked about the humidity and what it does to you, and talked about what we need to avoid it.”

“Coach said just keep hydrated and have something in the bag to eat and drink all the time so we’ll have energy,” said Pino. “The coach has made us run so we’ll get better prepared to play down there.”

“I think it will take a lot more concentration than the other courses we’ve played,” said Galindo, who admitted she was a little nervous going into the state tournament. “I just don’t know what’s going to happen.”

Snyder figures to be the favorite going in, after winning last year’s 3A state title and finishing 50 strokes up on the Eagles in the 36-hole Region I-3A Tournament. The Eagles won’t see the Tigers much on Thursday, with the runner-ups paired in the first five groups to tee off in the tournament, and Mason said. “I think it makes it easier, because we don’t have to worry about anybody else. We can just play our own game.”

“To me, playing with people not as good as Snyder will prepare us for the next day,” said Pino. “We just need to play our hearts out, get our stats up and be ready to play against Snyder.”

“I think we’re used to all kinds of courses, sand traps and hazards,” said Briones, who was the last addition to the Eagles ‘A’ team going into this season.

Doan said she thought Yoakum would be the best team out of the other six playing in Austin, but the Eagles are confident they’ll be among the leaders after Thursday’s opening round.

“We have a very good chance to finish with the top group,” Martinez said about Friday’s final round. “We’ve gone back and looked at last year and at how many girls are returning and where they finished, and we have a very good chance to finish in the Top 3.”

This year’s state tournament for District 3-3A golfers is the reverse of a year ago, when Martinez went as a medalist along with Monahans’ girls’ golf team, which advanced as Region I-3A runners-up behind Snyder. This year, along with the Eagles’ golf team, Monahans’ Paige Shaw will also be competing at the tournament as a medalist, and was scheduled to be one of the first golfers to tee off on both days of play.

Mazone sets high goals for state discus finals

Pecos Eagle Chantell Mazone improved her throw by over 14 feet from District 3-3A competition, in winning her first-ever Region I-3A discus title two weeks ago in Odessa. On Friday afternoon in Austin, Mazone has set a goal of doubling that improvement, though coach Donna Gent would just be happy with seeing the junior just slightly surpass that same improvement, in the Class 3A state finals at Michael A. Myers Stadium on the University of Texas-Austin campus.

Mazone got off a 130-foot-2 throw on her first attempt of the final round in Odessa to win the region I-3A title. Since then she’s been working out at Pecos High School, with one final practice Wednesday afternoon before leaving for Austin Thursday morning.

“She’s really worked hard. Her goal is 158-feet,” Gent said during the final workout on Wednesday. “We tried to get her to go for 145 feet, but she said that’s the number in her head, so I said ‘If that’s what you feel you can throw, that’s what we’re going to try.’ But I believe she can do 145 without a doubt.”

Throwing 145 would be just three inched better than the 144-foot-9 throw Cameron Yoe’s Charlissa Foster recorded at regionals. She’s followed by Ashley Woods of Corpus Christi West Oso who’s seeded second with a 141-foot-8 regional throw. Erica Doublin of Anahuac is the other state qualifier with the better throw than Mazone’s at regional, as she went 130-11.

“We were looking at the results, and I thought Chantell was seeded third going in instead of fourth,” said Gent.

“I like third better,” Mazone added. “But I like first more.”

“Chantell has been throwing extremely well the past two weeks. She’s been throwing in practice what she threw at regionals, so that shouldn’t be hard to beat at state.

Gent said boys’ coach Robbie Ortega has been working with Mazone, and will also be making the 400-mile drive down to Austin.

“Robbie’s been the one coaching her on this. He’s been working with her on her release,” she said. “Robbie’s done an excellent job getting her where she needs to be. I’m more the strength and conditioning coach, and getting her there where she needs to be.”

“But you give me the hope and the strength,” Mazone added.

Temperatures in Austin Friday afternoon are supposed to be near 90 degrees, which combined with the area’s humidity could make conditions a little different from West Texas’ hot weather. But Gent said, “She stays the summer in Houston, so she’s pretty used to the humidity.”

“I don’t think it’s going to be a factor, because we’ve been working in the heat of the day. Chantell’s been running a mile and running the bleachers, and she’s been in the weight room inside,” Gent said. “She’s been doing turn drills and then coming out here to throw.”

Mazone is only the second Pecos qualifier for state in girls track since the 1970s, but the second in the discus in two years. Stephanie Herrera advanced to Austin in 2004 and placed third with a 134-foot-7 throw, five feet out of first place. The last state champion for Pecos in track was Willie Mata, who won the Class 4A state title in the 800-meter run in 1995.

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