Consistency was the key for the Columbus boys and Northside girls golf teams, and for Nolan Miller and Isabel Rijos in particular.
Neither team took home the top prize at the state competition, but both were consistent threats to win throughout the regular season.
The Blue Devils won four of their eight events, including the Joe King, MCI, Georgia PGA and Region 1-AAAAA tournaments. They finished third at the Hardaway Invitational and fourth in the Invite.
The Lady Patriots won the Northside Invitational and the Region 1-AAAAA tournament, finished second at the Warhawk Invitational and fifth at the Maple Ridge Classic.
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For their team's successes, Columbus' Chris Parker and Northside's Tish Hidle were named the Ledger-Enquirer's All-Bi-City boys and girls coaches of the year. Miller and Rijos were both at the center of the success, as well, and earned boys and girls players of the year for their efforts.
Miller is only a sophomore, but already began to see enormous jumps in his success this season. His consistency was a positive, and he attributed that to his mental game more than anything else.
Golfers rarely have their best game for an entire round, and Miller said he could suffer from frustration when things didn't go his way in the past. This year, though, he was able to maintain focus more than ever before.
"Last year, I got to points where I started out bad and couldn't recover from it," he explained. "This year, I've started out bad, but been able to put a decent round together."
His average for the year was 73.3. He was the medalist at the Region 1-AAAAA and Blue Devil Invitational tournaments and had a low round of 67 twice.
With him in the lead, the Blue Devils finished tied for fifth at state.
"Out of my 22 years, I can probably say this has been the best, most complete season that we've ever had," Parker said. "I know most of the public, really all they think about is how you finish at state. But during the season, we played in tournaments that are even big
ger than state against different classifications. This group over the last 10 or 11 rounds averaged 295 as a team. As a high school team, if you're 320 you're good. If you're 300 you're great. They were just consistently great throughout the season."
On Northside, Rijos has been the lead Patriot for awhile.
She won girls golfer of the year as a freshman two years ago. This year, she averaged a 75 and won three straight tournaments to open the season.
It was her short game, she said, that put her over the top this year.
"During the offseason, my dad and I spent a lot of time on it," she said. "I think that's really benefited me."
And her team.
Hidle said her goal for Northside to begin the season was to win the region, make state and perform better there than they did a year ago.
"We did all those things," she said.
"We came in seventh at state. It was a successful season, and it was a lot of fun."