Photo: 2019 Glencoe High School and 2021 Wallace-Hanceville graduate Lauren Cole displays her ACCC state golf championship plaque on April 21 in Guntersville. (Courtesy of Wallace State-Hanceville)
By Chris McCarthy, Publisher/Editor
Six years after helping Glencoe High School win the 2015 girls state golf championship as an eighth grader, Lauren Cole finished out her competitive career in similar fashion.
Cole and the Wallace State-Hanceville women’s golf team won the Alabama Community College Conference title on April 21 in Guntersville. The Lady Lions combined score of 663 was 42 strokes lower than tournament runner-up Jefferson State. Cole’s two-day score of 154 was 10 above par and 13 strokes lower than teammate Maddie Nelson.
It was Wallace State’s fourth consecutive conference championship. The Lady Lions went undefeated in tournament play until nationals at Plantation Bay in Ormond Beach, Florida, where Wallace State finished in 11th place.
Cole noted that Eagles Nest at Guntersville was a challenging course.
“It’s almost straight uphill, so it was kind of hard, but I was already familiar with it since I played there the fall of my freshman year. [The course] was very open and straight, and I just played the best that I could, and I came out successful. I was very proud of myself and my team.”
Cole appreciated her status as a high school and college state champion.
“Being able to say that I won in high school and in college is a really neat accomplishment,” she said. “I worked really hard to get to where I was, so it felt really good to go out as a winner. I also wanted to make my dad (Jeremy) proud. He’s my number one supporter, and I think he was very proud of me.”
Cole won four low medalist titles during her career and had six top individual finishes this year alone. Despite receiving offers from several four-year schools for golf, Cole decided to call it a career following her graduation last week. She will attend the University of Alabama this fall on a Presidential Transfer Scholarship, a situation that helped her decide to take a break from the links. Cole plans on majoring in Exercise Science with an eye on a career in athletic training.
“It’s a full ride, so I’m just going to put my golf clubs up and just go for school,” she said. “Plus, I played three sports a year in high school and it’s been all golf the last two years, so I wanted to know what it’s like to just go to classes and do my work and focus on what I’m going to do in my life.”
Wallace State women’s golf coach J.J. Adams, who was named ACCC Coach of the Year for the second straight season, predicted at Cole’s scholarship signing in November of 2018 that she would accomplish great things during her time in Hanceville.
“To be honest, I expected that from Lauren,” said Adams. “My big thing was knowing that once she focused on one sport, I knew she would excel at it. But what impressed me the most about Lauren was that she’s not just a great player; she’s a great person and a good Christian kid.
“Lauren really worked hard at her game while she was here and pushed herself and the other kids on the team to be better players and better people. Lauren was invaluable to our team, and I can’t say enough about her.”
As a junior at Glencoe, Cole won both the Etowah County Junior Golf Tournament and Gadsden Area Golf Tournament cham-pionship, was the Class 1A-3A Northeast Section low medalist, the low medalist in the substate playoffs and finished third individually and helped Glencoe to a fourth-place team finish at the Class 1A/3A state tournament.
While competing at state, she scored a hole-in-one on The Shoals’ School Master Course Hole No. 16. As a senior, she and the Lady Yellow Jackets won the sectional and substate playoffs and finished third at the state tournament. Cole placed fifth in the individual standings.
Cole also played volleyball and basketball for Glencoe. As a senior, Cole helped the Lady Yellow Jackets qualify for the Elite Eight state tournament in volleyball and make the Northeast Regional finals in basketball.
Much like Adams, Glencoe High girls golf coach Jason Pierce anticipated Cole’s success at Hanceville.
“I told Coach Adams at Lauren’s signing that she would do a good job just concentrating on one sport. I think Coach Adams has the superior junior college golf program in the state, and I bet he’s pleased with what he got from Lauren. I think her mental toughness is extraordinary, and I think playing with those other girls on our state championship team really helped her develop that since those girls (Hope Bishop, Madison Cole and Madison Autwell) were also mentally tough. I think that’s what set us apart that year.
“Lauren wants to succeed in whatever she does, and that comes out on the golf course. She also comes from a great family with her dad Jeremy and her mom Kim and her sister Madison. Lauren’s ready to be a full-time college student and get on with the next phase of your life, and I think that’s admirable.”