Andover seniors Hayley Jones and Baylee Bloom have collected numerous golf medals at tournaments throughout their high school careers.
But both acknowledge the awards ceremonies have risen to a new level this season.
One by one, the Trojans have heard their names called as they’ve monopolized top-10 spots and team championships in all seven of their varsity tournaments. The latest was a 47-shot victory in the Ark Valley-Chisholm Trail II tournament last week at Consolver Golf Course.
“It just puts a huge smile on your face,” said Jones, who shot an 80 for her fourth individual victory of the fall. “You hear other girls say, ‘Wow, Andover’s good.’ It really feels like we are doing something special.”
Andover, which will play in the Class 5A regional on Monday at Pittsburg’s Crestwood Country Club, has been in the mix at the state level for several years. The Trojans won four consecutive 4-3-2-1A titles from 2004-07 and have advanced to 5A state each year since 2011.
While Kapaun Mount Carmel used superior depth to claim the last four 5A team titles, Andover has navigated this regular season with a similar formula. With returning varsity player Kelsey Hawley and a freshman trio of Shauna Lee, Tiffany Chan and Alivia Nguyen joining Jones and Bloom, the Trojans have placed at least four in the top 10 at each tournament.
All six have been in the top 10 at two tournaments.
“My freshman year I kind of came in not knowing what to expect and I think they’re that way, too,” said Bloom, who won the North Invitational on Sept. 27 at Sim and led the Trojans to a school-record team score of 319. “They know that they are good but they aren’t super cocky. They know they can shoot those low numbers, which I think gives them a lot of confidence.”
While Jones and Bloom have set the pace for the Trojans in most tournaments, Lee has posted five top-five finishes. Chan and Nguyen each have two.
“We knew we had some talented freshmen coming in, but didn’t really know how good they could be until after the first week of practice,” Andover coach Ryan Harshaw said. “We’re lucky to have three of them come in at the same time.
“They all grew up playing up junior golf, they compete in the summer and they come from golfing families.”
Jones said each of the newcomers has added to the enjoyment of her senior season with distinct personality traits. Chan is the jokester. Lee is “the intimidating one.” Nguyen always has something nice to say.
“Having teammates like that to challenge you at practice every day is something players at a lot of schools don’t get to see,” Jones said. “I’ve got a whole team that can challenge me.”
Jones and Bloom have drawn recruiting interest and are considering college playing opportunities. Jones, who missed last year’s league tournament with appendicitis and wasn’t at full strength for the postseason, used an eagle to spark a strong finish last week at Consolver. Bloom was second, one shot behind Jones.
“Last year, there was some nervousness that if a couple of us didn’t shoot good scores, the team wouldn’t finish real great,” Bloom said. “Now it seems it changes every tournament which four scores we use. We haven’t had a bad tournament yet, which is really nice.”