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Lady Arrows’ record-setting golf team finishes season at state tournament

By Datti Jinkiri

Consistency.

That is a word that can describe this past season of the Clinton High School girls golf team. The Lady Arrows parlayed that consistency into finishing in tenth at the MHSAA Class 6A State Tournament in April. This finish is the Lady Arrows’ best placement at a state tournament in school history, and it was also an improvement on the team’s 15th-place finish at the 2021 tournament. Fifth-year head coach Clay Norton was happy about his team’s accomplishments this season.

“It is a great feeling to know that the work that the girls put in is paying off,” Norton said.

“Golf takes a lot of work and patience,” Norton added. “I’m proud of how the girls managed the season and the state tournament.”

The Lady Arrows’ consistency was evident from the start of the season. They began the season with a fifth-place finish at the Madison Invitational in February. They continued their steady ascension after finishing fourth at the Germantown Invitational before racking up a third-place finish at the Northwest Rankin Invitational. The team’s improvement was evident to Norton throughout the season.

“One area of improvement that I noticed this year is how they manage their game,” Norton stated.

“Golf is much more than going out there and just hitting it. We always try to emphasize, ‘Don’t give the course strokes.’”

The Lady Arrows continued their streak of top-five finishes with a third-place result at the Starkville Invitational. This was followed by a fourth-place finish at the Warren Central Invitational. The Lady Arrows then completed the regular season by finishing in fourth at the Clinton Invitational and third at the second Warren Central Invitational.

Next up was the Region 4-6A Tournament, where the Lady Arrows were able to qualify for the Class 6A Tournament. The ensuing tournament was the Class 6A State Tournament, where they were able to tally their best ever state tournament placement.

Maddie McNeece – who finished in 11th individually at the state tournament – was a key reason why the Lady Arrows were able to finish in this position. The sophomore paced the Lady Arrows not just in the tournament, but throughout the season. She finished in the top-ten at every tournament but one. She also finished in the top-five five times. Her best result was at the region tournament, where she finished in second.

While McNeece was an important cog in the team, there were eight ladies on the roster who contributed to the team’s impressive season. It’s clear that these eight – Ella Bailey, Peyton Brown, Ashley Duke, Summer Hawk, McNeece, Kacey Pigg, Addison Pletzke and Kealy Wilson – had a profound effect on Norton.

“They are so much fun to be around,” Norton said. “Each one has a unique personality, and that shows on the course.

“I learned that it is a joy to see them improve and get a taste of success.”

With golfers such as Brown, Duke, McNeece, Pigg and Wilson returning, as well as the addition of some new members, Norton and the Lady Arrows will be looking to improve on this impressive season in the upcoming year.


 

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