The Laurel boys and girls golf teams each enter this weekend’s State A golf tournament with consecutive championships in mind. The Locomotive boys will be gunning for their fourth straight title, while the girls are eyeing their third straight.
The girls are carrying forward momentum built off a third consecutive Eastern A divisional title last weekend where the Locomotives placed four girls in the top five, something that could happen again at state.
“I think that you build off each other," Laurel junior Hannah Adams said. "One good shot, another good shot, it’s one after the other. It’s challenging, though. You see another teammate birdie and you bogey, that competition is always there, that’s the biggest challenge you’re going to face. That challenge has also turned into momentum most of the time.”
“It isn’t a seasonal thing, it’s a lifestyle. These guys have committed to it. Our success isn’t an accident," Laurel head coach Jim O'Neil said. "We have a willing group of kids who are willing to work as hard or harder than the coaches are, so the coaches are willing to do whatever is necessary, but it’s all about preparation.”
The COVID-19 protocols that have forced teams to play together all season have been beneficial for the Laurel girls with all that talent, but it’s helped the boys, too, who had three individuals in the top eight last weekend.
“Just take care of yourself and don’t worry about the competitor," O'Neil said. "You have no control over what your competitor does, you need to take care of yourself. This really forces you to do that, because you don’t know what’s going on out there. If you’re struggling, you don’t know that the others aren’t, as well.”
O’Neil has no shortage of old sayings, and he’s imparted his wisdom on the young Laurel golfers.
“Just work hard, one shot at a time," Laurel senior Carson Hackman said. "That’s all you can do. Can’t really control much. If we shoot the best you possibly can, I think we have a really good shot.”
“We obviously know that those state championships are there, and we do want to three-peat again, but right now it’s just one shot at a time, it’s the next tournament. That’s what we’re focused on," Adams said.
Golfers will tee off Thursday morning at Butte Country Club.