Trojans senior golfer Austen Ancell was last year’s all-region team golfer and the 2015 individual state champion. He came within just three strokes from winning his second title last season.
This year he will take his last swing at the individual state title.
For Ancell, the state title during his sophomore year was ages ago. He feels now he is an even better golfer.
“I am always improving as a golfer,” Ancell said. “I have a lot more experience in tournaments and overall experience now.”
Ancell was the first individual state title winner for boys golf in Pahrump and he is hoping to also be part of the first team state title winner. The team, like Ancell, came in second place last year at state.
He attributes his success in the sport to the fact he is always thinking and playing the game.
Unlike many of his teammates that take time off from golf in the offseason, Ancell plays golf all year long.
“Just being able to play really makes me a better player,” he said. “It’s all about having the experience with difficult shots, in difficult situations.”
Although he trains a lot to get himself ready to play at state, he said the tournament situations he played in the offseason could not equal the regional and state tournaments in feel or intensity. That is something you have to experience and practice can’t replicate it.
But one of the things Ancell has been able to work on since he last won state is his mental toughness.
“One of the things I have improved on is the mental side of the game,” he said. “I now look to the positives that will help me.”
And, he added, he has also worked on his leadership.
“Our athletic director, Larry Goins, teaches a leadership class for athletes,” Ancell said. “He said leadership is more than just being a great player. I have worked on leadership qualities that will help us work together as a team and I learned how to pull the team together.”
It is a skill he will need since the majority of the team will be made up of freshmen and sophomores who don’t have the tournament experience.
Trojans golf coach Bob Hopkins knows him the best when it comes to his work ethic.
“Austen is one of the reasons we contended for a state championship last season and hopefully we can again this season,” the coach said. “If anyone wants to be a great golfer, they just have to watch what Austen does. I have always said our kids have the best situation for golf in the state. The course gives us everything, they allow us to practice and play in the offseason. Austen has taken advantage of that, no one will outwork him. I hope he can finish his career off with another individual championship and a team championship.”
Ancell has verbally committed to Regis University in Denver to play golf.
Contact sports editor Vern Hee at firstname.lastname@example.org