Last spring, Highland Park sent 10 golfers to the boys golf state tournament, and all 10 wound up on the podium.
Repeating that feat — and continuing its unprecedented run of Class 5A dominance — will require a younger lineup to step to the fore. Only half of last year’s state participants are back for a Scots roster that includes just three seniors.
However, for a program that prides itself on reloading, a fifth consecutive 5A state title and state-record 23rd overall is still the goal and the expectation.
“None of our seniors have had to be at the forefront of the program, and they’ve really responded,” said HP head coach Erik Henson.
He credits Division I college signees Christian Clark (SMU) and Joe Stover (Texas A&M), as well as fellow senior Mack Duvall, for steering the Scots through some rough results in the fall.
“It was a little rocky. We didn’t play up to our expectations,” Henson said. “Last year, we leaned on our seniors pretty heavily, and Christian and Joe were able to play with a little more freedom. They’ve found their footing.”
HP appears to have rounded into form during the spring, convincingly capturing a team title at the 5A State Preview tournament in Georgetown in early March. That enabled the Scots to experience success on the same course — White Wing Golf Club — where they will look to defend their crown on May 9-10.
Another golfer to watch is junior Preston Cooper, who played on HP’s second team at the 2021 state tournament yet emerged as the individual champion.
“When Preston is playing with freedom and belief in what he’s doing, the hole is as big as a basketball hoop,” Henson said. “He’s another guy we can lean on.”
Then there’s freshman Brooks Simmons, who has become a staple in the HP lineup at just 14, showing the poise and maturity of a seasoned veteran.
“He’s figured out the hard part of the game,” Henson said. “As he continues to develop his swing, he’s going to be dangerous in the next few years.”
Many of their 5A foes might be relieved that the Scots are jumping to Class 6A after this season. But HP hopes to use its depth to claim one more title on the way out.
“Whoever is in the lineup believes they can be relied upon. The guys have done a great job of playing team golf — putting the team before yourself,” Henson said. “We have a tradition to uphold and protect.”