Harlingen South eyes regional golf test after another strong district showing

HARLINGEN For a third straight year the Harlingen South boys golf team has taken a district title, and now the girls have a streak of their own, winning back-to-back titles in District 32-5A.

Harlingen South head boys coach Anthony Milligan and head girls coach Tiffany Albury have been in charge of the programs the past three years as they shift their focus to the Region IV-5A tournament being held next week at Champion Lakes Golf Course in McAllen.

The Harlingen South boys team that won the district included Jeffrey Janik, Sebastian Romero, Hayes Garcia, Hudson Gonzales and Reese Garcia. South also had Christian Hernandez qualify for the regional as well.

The Hawks repeated their District 32-5A title this year and won a District 32-6A title before making the switch to 5A in 2022.

“It is a good testament to the kids we have and their work ethic,” Milligan said. “They are buying into the process, playing well, practicing hard and I really applaud them.”

Harlingen South has battled with some of the Lower Valley’s best teams in recent years to pull out those titles, Milligan added.

Now, the Hawks will be competing with some of the best in the state next week in McAllen. Smithson Valley, the defending state champion, returns three golfers from last season.

Grouped with the best in Group 1 will be Janik after shining at district. Janik, a senior, won the district title and is a golfer to watch next week after an impressive showing at Tierra Santa Golf Course, where he went 8-under-par for the two-day tourney. Janik won the individual district title by 14 strokes.

But Janik understands that what happened at his course is not necessarily going to translate to what could happen at Champion Lakes.

“You can’t really overthink it, you got to play safe,” Janik said about the course. “That course is pretty tight, the fairways, and there is a lot of trouble if you miss it.”

Making it to state is Janik’s biggest goal going into this season, and he has his coach’s backing.

“I think he is getting to that point where he realizes he belongs and he knows he is a good player. He just has to go out there and execute,” Milligan said.

Both Hawks teams are excited for the future. Even though Janik and Gonzales graduate, Romero is ready to step up and take over after finishing second in district this year as a freshman.

Milligan said Romero has grown a lot this golf season and expects the freshman to be one of the best the next three years.

Back-to-back champs

Harlingen South’s girls team of Sofia Pena, Daniella Sanchez, Mya Salinas, Ava Salgado and Morgan Hruska all return next season after taking the district title this season.

Albury is proud of what her team accomplished this season and with how much the team can grow.

“The fact that they have won two years straight tells me that I have some dedicated ladies that are determined to hold their titles and work for another one,” she said. “I have some really young talent and really good leaders.”

Sanchez, a junior, is a captain on the team and saw the team start from only a couple of athletes the first year under Albury to become the best team in the district.

Sanchez hopes the team goes out with a bang, as they have an eye on next season because of the talent on the team. Pena, a freshman, finished second individually at district.

Albury and Sanchez raved about Pena.

“I think we can get somewhere,” Pena said.

The boys begin the Region IV-6A tournament today and finish Tuesday, and the girls start Wednesday and finish Thursday.