Walton coach Rick Myrick stands with Katherine Euston in 2019. After a fifth-place finish in last year’s state tournament, the Lady Raiders feel like they missed a state championship opportunity in 2020.

Walton’s girls golf team lost more than just a competitive season in 2020.

With one of the strongest groups in Lady Raiders history, it surrendered a potential state championship run.

“I honestly think this is one of the best teams we have had,” senior Audrey Stasko said. “There was so much potential, but, unfortunately, we never got to see what we had at tournaments.”

Walton’s top four players each had the potential to shoot in the 70s this year, including Stasko, McKensey Kaseta, Katherine Euston and Hailey Brown. After a top-five finish in the Class AAAAAAA state tournament last season, Myrick believed his team was on track to win the title with a combination of solid players both young and old.

“We just had a good combination of older girls and younger girls,” Myrick said. “The older girls would play pretty good and have a lot of enthusiasm, a lot of team spirit, and that filtered down to the younger girls. They all practiced and worked hard. We would have been in the hunt.”

Walton finished second in its only tournament this season before the season was shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Myrick was particularly excited about his seniors and how they would push their peers.

“We had some really great senior leadership,” he said. “I had five senior girls who were really good and were great teammates.”

Stasko showed herself to be the prime role model for her younger teammates as a senior, and even before it.

Myrick said Stasko was the first to arrive at practice every day and was an example both on and off the golf course. Stasko held a 3.93 grade-point average while making the all-county team twice. She made Walton’s top-five list each of the last three seasons and was on track for a fourth straight state tournament appearance.

“I was a captain, which comes with a lot of leadership responsibilities, and that was something I was looking forward to,” Stasko said. “I think I could have helped newer players prepare for what to expect.”

Even once the 2020 season was canceled, Stasko continued to work on and improve her game.

“I have been playing again, and I am hitting my irons the best I ever have,” Stasko said.

The results reinforced the idea that Stasko would have broken out even further had the golf season continued this year.

Stasko plans to attend Auburn University in the fall, and Myrick is pushing for her to join the Tigers’ golf team when she arrives on campus. She will have the glowing endorsement of Walton’s coach if she does.

“She came to practice every day,” Myrick said. “She worked hard every day. She encouraged the other girls to work, and she was just a really good leader and a good player.”

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