Hernando County's leading candidates for postseason Player of the Year laurels returned home from Lake County Wednesday afternoon empty-handed.
There was no hardware collected by two Springstead seniors, Kylie Van Meter in the 64th Class 2A FHSAA Girls Golf Finals or Brazon Dixon following the 83rd annual 2A FHSAA Boys Golf Finals, both at Howey-in-the-Hills' Mission Inn Resort and Golf Club.
Van Meter, who arrived averaging 47.7 per nine holes, carded a two-day, 36-hole 98-95-193 total along the Las Colinas layout.
After her first state appearance, "I was intimidated on the first day," admitted the 17-year-old Van Meter. "I went out much more relaxed today."
After playing on a water-filled Heritage Springs course in regionals, "The course was really nice," said the three-year Lady Eagle letterman. "It seemed like I played the water last week so much better. I know I could have done better."
In describing her round, "I had some good putts and chip-ins on the first day. Today I drove the ball better," pointed out Van Meter.
In detailing her experience, "I see this as a steppingstone," she said. "I wish I would have done better, but I don't have any regrets.
"States is so hard. There were so many good teams here," said Van Meter. "I'd tell anyone who makes it to never doubt themselves. I'm disappointed that I didn't play as well as I did in regionals."
After looking in the mirror, "I'm very honored to have made it this far," she added. "I was so excited to be coming here after regionals. It really didn't matter to me whether I was in the top 25 or finished in last place, I was happy to go to states."
SHS' first-year mentor Bill Vonada called Las Colinas, "A very tough course. It wasn't like any of the courses we've played. There were a couple of holes that were unforgiving.
"In general, everybody struggled. On the first day, no one from Mitchell - the regional champions - broke 90," detailed Vonada. "This was the type of course where one bad shot could easily cost you four strokes."
On assessing Van Meter's play, "Give Kylie credit. She played with tremendous poise after completing some tough holes," Vonada said. "For someone who picked up a set a clubs just a couple years ago, and is really just learning the game, she played well."
At the adjoining El Campeon course, Dixon didn't hide his dissatisfaction following his two-day, 36-hole 87-82-169 total.
Dixon, who arrived averaging 39.5 per nine holes, finished 25 shots over par.
"It was a disaster," explained the 17-year-old Dixon. "It was a nice course. It wasn't like Fox Hollow (at regionals); the water never came into play. This is set up more like World Woods' Pine Barrens. There were lots of hills and odd pin placements."
In evaluating his performance, "Nothing happened," emphatically stated Dixon. "Mentally, I never showed up. There was no improvement; there's really nothing positive to say.
"Nobody has really expected anything from me all season long," said the frustrated Dixon. "I can hit the ball far, but I can't keep it in play. I regret a lot. This was the one tournament I really needed to play well and I didn't."