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All Area Girls Golf

South Brunswick's Ashley Sloup earned a runner-up finish at the 3A East regional, then took her game to the next level at the state tournament. (Photo by Photo by Paul Stephen)

As the old saying goes: How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice, practice.

Since day one, South Brunswick's Ashley Sloup has been doing just that on her way to being named the StarNews All-Area Player of the Year for girls golf.

"My dad was a golf pro in Illinois and Wisconsin so I was born and raised by the golf course," Sloup said. "My whole family plays."

However, it wasn't until high school that she began hunkering down on the sport.

"I've always had that dream of becoming a professional golfer," Sloup said. "But, I guess once I got into high school I used to play a lot of sports but my family really wanted me to focus down so hopefully I could pursue a scholarship when I get older."

Concentrating her efforts, Sloup immediately saw results. As a sophomore in 2011, she finished second at the Class 3A East regional. The early success allowed Sloup's confidence to grow as quickly as her game.

"Last year I was really excited," Sloup said. "Just to improve each year, that's my goal. I set goals and I reached mostly all of them and that was a great experience. Receiving second and receiving the medal was very exciting.

"I really started practicing like all the time towards the end of my sophomore year. I just really focused down on the short game because I realized that's a really important part. I just practiced as much as possible."

Leading the Cougars through the Waccamaw Conference in 2012, her individual game improved. 

After another runner-up finish at the 3A East regional, Sloup took her game to the next level at the state tournament.

Despite owning the first-round lead, Sloup finished third after struggling during tough conditions on the second day. Sloup finished at 76-83–159, five shots back of winner Tara Simmons of C.B. Aycock. Sloup also led the Cougars to a sixth-place team finish.

"I'm very proud of my accomplishments," Sloup said. "Of course, I wanted to win, but that doesn't always happen. So I'm hoping next year I can do that and maybe even win as a team. That'd be great."

With one high school season left, Sloup plans to compete throughout the offseason.

"I've just been playing golf every day so I've really just been practicing a lot and throughout the spring I'll stay practicing a lot," Sloup said. "I play tournaments on the weekends, usually about two a month, so I'll continue doing that."

All this will be in preparation for a senior year in which Sloup hopes to accomplish great things.

However, more than herself, Sloup wants to see her teammates perform to the level she knows they are capable of.

"I hope my team does great again this upcoming year," Sloup said. "We were a younger team, but they all did their best and really focused down so I was really proud of all of them. So I just hope they practice a lot during the offseason and that we remain number one in the conference as we head into the (Mideastern) Conference. I'm confident we'll make it to regionals as a team and I just hope we can go to states again and play top three there."



All-Area Girls Golf

Ashley Sloup, Jr., South Brunswick (Player of the Year): Waccamaw Conference Champion, led South Brunswick to Class 3A East championship and finished third in the 3A state tournament with a 159 two-day score.

Alison Cole, Jr., Hoggard: Class 4A state individual qualifier for Vikings.

Katy Flax, Fr., Ashley: Finished third in Mideastern Conference individual race, led Screaming Eagles to team berth in 4A state tournament

Cameryn Smith, So., West Brunswick: Tied for 24th in the Class 3A state tournament.

Maddy Thompson, Jr., New Hanover: Finished 19th in 4A state tournament with a two-day score of 166

All-Conference Teams

Mideastern Conference

First Team–Lauren Coltrain, Rose; Mary Kate DeBruhl, New Bern; Katy Flax, Ashley; Ashley Osiecki, New Bern; Shelby Osiecki, New Bern; Maddy Thompson, New Hanover

Second Team–Darby Bagshaw, Ashley; Allison Cole, Hoggard; Sara Ferebee, New Bern; Lauren Long, Ashley

Player of the year: Ashley Osiecki, New Bern. Coach of the year: Bob Hestikind, New Hanover. Spotsmanship: New Hanover

Waccamaw Conference

North Brunswick–Jennifer Basker, Julia Gainey, Emily Lamm; South Brunswick–Ashley Sloup, Janzen Jones, Jordan Saunders; West Brunswick–Cameryn Smith, Megan Henson.

East Central Conference

Croatan–LeAnn Domitrovits, Mary Leonard, Savannah Vasquez, Mary Hogan; Richlands–Christie Herring, Jessica Sacket; Swansboro–Kanani Thomas; Topsail–Mindi White