Russellville junior Victoria Sansom finished 25th in the state high school golf tournament last week, shooting 86-88-174 on the Bellefonte Country Club course in the Russell/Ashland area in far northeastern Kentucky.
Russell was a key word. Russell County won the team championship by beating host Russell by 47 strokes. And a girl from Russellville hung in tough.
Sansom-- playing in her first state tournament-- started late because of a heavy fog Tuesday morning. She was very much in contention at the turn at only two-over-par after nine holes.
But her 11th hole was a mind boggler, a multi-terraced green that didn't want to hold the ball. She quadruple-bogeyed the hole. The rest of the round she had five bogeys and two double bogeys and finished with an 86.
The last five holes had to be played on Wednesday because of darkness the evening before. Then she played 18 holes in the second round, scoring 88. A triple bogey on the first hole got her off to a bad start, but she settled down and played steady golf.
"She had to walk 23 holes that day and carry her own bag," Coach Kim Swift says. "What makes her so special is that she has learned to 'control the damage' when she gets in a place where she doesn't want her ball to be.
"Victoria represented herself, her school, her community and her family well."
Swift says often we worry about athletes being able to succeed in the classroom as well as they do on the athletic field. He says Sansom is an example of someone who has learned to translate her success in the classroom to the athletic field. He considers her a role model for other athletes.
Sansom finished fourth among the 15 golfers from this region. Only one of those above her was an underclassman. Another was senior Marci Turner of Monroe County, who earned state medalist honors by 12 strokes.
"Veronica is a definite contender for regional medalist next year, and I think she can be one of the top golfers in the state," Swift says. "She has the potential to lead the Russellville Lady Panthers to their first trip to state as a team next year. We've got the players on the team and in school who can do it if they follow Victoria's example of hard work and dedication. She was back on the golf course practicing the next day after state. She's go what it takes."