MCALLEN, Texas (KVEO) — Kaylee Cruz is no stranger to the UIL state golf tournament or central Texas.
Born in the Rio Grande Valley, Cruz moved to San Antonio before grade school. Discovering golf just before the start of eighth grade, Cruz began her high school career at Reagan High School in San Antonio. Her love and dedication to the game only continued to grow.
“The more you work, the better you are,” Cruz explained. “So, I try to work on it as much as possible to keep my game up.”
Cruz’s hard work has paid off.
When her mother received a work opportunity back down in the Rio Grande Valley, Cruz moved back down to the RGV and began competing for Pioneer High School. She helped lead her team to the program’s first district title, solidifying a spot in the regional competition. Her success continued, earning an individual spot to compete in the 5A UIL State Tournament.
“It’s kind of sad that they don’t get to go [to state] because this was actually our first road trip [for regionals],” Cruz said. “It was really fun, so I’m kind of sad we won’t get to do it again.”
She may be traveling alone, but she will still have plenty supporters at the competition.
“It is kind of ironic,” Leo Lopez, Cruz’s father, said. “Her old coach… he is going to state, and then her old team was down here competing in the 6A tournament and they actually won the tournament so they’ll be going to state.”
Cruz will compete against her old coach’s program, Alamo Heights, at the state tournament in Georgetown. A few miles down the road, her old Reagan teammates will be competing in the 6A tournament, leaving Cruz with a few familiar faces to support her play.
“It’s kind of cool because, so far, nobody has made it to state from the valley [this year],” Cruz said. “I’m just hoping that I don’t give upstrokes and I just do my best.”
The 5A state competition runs from May 10-11 at White Wing Golf Club in Georgetown, Texas.