Even With New Contributors, Westlake Girls Golf Rides Wave To 2nd Straight State Title

Photo from Westlake Athletics.

 

Westlake is an athletic power, so the rise of its girls golf program wasn’t out of the blue. The Chaparrals kicked off the decade with back-to-back UIL 5A state titles in 2010 and 2011, and wrapped it up with a pair of UIL 6A crowns in 2018 and 2019.

“I think it felt even better this year,” said Westlake lead golfer and UIL state bronze medalist Sadie Englemann. “Just cause of how the finish was and everyone running up to me.”

Westlake’s current run has relied on many of the same golfers and coaches, so they trust each other to perform in crunch time and serve in any role. Chuck Nowland and Ashley Patterson demonstrated that when they traded head and assistant coach positions the past two years. Nowland was the long time program head until he handed the reigns to Patterson for the 2018-2019 school year.

“Taking over the role did come with a lot of expectations, especially since they won last year,” said Patterson. “You would think that it’d be easy taking over a state championship team. But, to be honest, the pressure was pretty tough there. Everyone kind of assuming you would win it again, and trying to make sure we all stayed level-headed and kept to the grind because you never know what’s going to happen til you get out there.”

The coaches also found a good replacement for 2018 graduate Elena Castanon, who was named the Heartland Conference Freshman of the Year for her play at St. Edward’s University during the 2018-2019 college season. They inserted freshman Ally Black in a top five that already included Englemann, Madelyn Jones, Bentley Cotton and Jackie Feldman. The move ultimately improved the team’s score at state, from 589 strokes to 577.

“Ally came in just guns a blazing,” said Patterson. “She has an amazing attitude. She’s very positive [and] very upbeat. She fits in with this group like sisters. I walk in and they’re all laughing, and they’ve hung out on the weekends. They don’t just play golf together. And it’s really neat to have a freshman come in with that amount of ability that can also mesh with the upperclassmen and not be nervous.”

Experience has also played a big role in the last two years’ success, and no one showed that more than Englemann. The talented 2020 golfer shared the fourth-best individual score in 2018 and earned a third-place finish at 2019’s event.

“For me, it’s more of the mental game aspect right now,” Englemann said of the focus that’s got her to this point. “To the level that we’re on right now, we all have really good golf games and we all have the ability to shoot under. What separates us is the ability to keep calm and not get down on yourself when stuff does go wrong.”

Englemann, Cotton, Feldman and Black are expected to return to the team for the 2019-2020 school year, but that’s not the only reason why Westlake will be in the mix for a program-best third straight crown. The Chaparrals sent two teams to state this week, including the eighth-best squad, so they have the necessary depth to find player number five again and compete with anyone in Texas.

“To do it again, I think we need to have a year like we had this year,” said Englemann. “I think working hard [and] bonding, that was the biggest thing for us this year. We got along so well. No drama, no nothing. And we’re losing Madelyn, who’s a huge contributor, but I know one of the girls from the second team’s going to step up, and I think we have a great chance next year if we continue working hard to get our minds in the right spot.”

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