Taylor Wheelock can’t stand losing to her cousin, Brooklyn Lonker.
So when Lonker joined the Cheney girls’ golf team as a freshman, Wheelock’s decision to join the team a year later was a no brainer.
“I decided I’m not going to let her beat me in something,” Wheelock said. “It’s been a competition for me at golf practice to beat her at tournaments or do better than her.”
Now juniors, the girls are two of the key components that make up the six-player squad, which will play in the 3-2-1A Regional on Mondayin Russell.
“They are worried about what the other ones are shooting,” Cheney coach Randy Leroux said. “But they also understand it helps our team.”
Cheney has found plenty of recent success. The Cardinals have made it to state five years in a row, finishing as high as third in 2009.
In 2010, Cheney’s Jacie Sheer won an individual state title.
While this year’s group may not have that single player to carry them, the team believes its’ competitiveness can lead them out of regionals and back into state.
“If one girl does have a bad tournament or isn’t shooting well, they are right there with her helping her go through that,” Leroux said. “Sometimes there isn’t enough competition in girls golf. It’s nice having them compete a little bit.”
Although, there can be times when Wheelock and Lonker can take their competition a little too far.
“Most of the times I just don’t say anything. I don’t know how to handle it,” said senior Shianne Cokely. “It’s nice that they do compete with each other. They aren’t scared to beat each other.”
The girls are constantly checking in on each other’s scores, wanting to know what they need to beat the other.
This doesn’t occur in practice alone, but often in tournaments where they are competing against other teams.
“It’s never how are the other teams doing,” Lonker said. “It’s how are the other girl is doing.”
Having this mindset keeps the team close, and for Leroux it might be what is needed to keep the team winning.
“They know if they are trailing a little bit they want to bear down a little bit harder,” Leroux said. “If one of them has a lead they want to try and keep that lead, so their competition works well.”