SHREVEPORT, La. - As the defending state champs in LHSAA Division I boys golf, the Byrd Yellow Jackets say they appreciate the opportunity to go back-to-back.
“It’s fun. We know we’re good," team member Duke Bowen explains. "We have a great team and so we know what we have to do and all the other teams know how good we are so it’s just a matter of if we can do it.”
Teammate Grant Reagan adds, “The best part about it’s being the favorite going into it and having a target on your back. That just makes it better for all the guys out there. We love that, we like having people kind of chase us a little bit, so yeah, we’re excited.”
Reagan and Bowen are two of the five golfers competing in the Lafayette area for the state championship and head coach Meredith Duncan says the team feeds off each other’s success.
“They play with a lot of the kids in Shreveport and they all push each other to be better and they all want to beat each other, but at the same time, they’re rooting for each other because the lower one of them shoots, the better the score for the team looks. So, they’re always rooting for each other," Duncan says.
"They’re so fun to be around and sometimes I probably shouldn’t laugh at some of the things they do, but they’re just fun to be around. They’re good kids that work hard and want to be good.”
With six state titles since 2014, the Jackets believe they can achieve their standard of success once again.
Reagan: “The feeling going into this tournament knowing that you have a chance to go win a state championship for your city, your school, it’s an unreal feeling. Nothing beats it.”
Bowen: "We have a great competition in Shreveport and there’s a lot of great golfers so everybody’s always competing against each other, so we’ve just been very dominant these past couple of years and hope to stay the same for a couple of more.”
James Holtsclaw, Shep Smith and Ethan Dial also qualified to compete at state.
The Div. I boys championships take place at Farm d'Allie in Carencro, La. just north of Lafayette, May 1-2.