(Editor’s note: This is Part 1 of a 2-part story on the two girls who were the only female high school county golfers.)
If you looked out on the golf course during a county competition this past spring, you would have seen something you’ve never seen before: two girls competing with and against the boys.
Allyson Heinz and Jessica Lucas, both rising seniors at Lakewood, joined the all boys golf team last spring. No other county school team had girl players, and Jessica said she only saw one other girl at the conference matches, and that was on the James Kenan team.
Allyson picked the game up her sophomore year, practicing with her dad, Dan, and decided last year that she wanted to compete. Jessica had never played the game before this past spring.
She said her friends helped her make the decision to join the team.
“I was talked into playing by some friends. I never played any sports before, so I decided this year I would change that and get involved in something new. I felt more comfortable trying out for golf,” Jessica explained.
Both girls were happy they did.
“It was an awesome decision. I felt a part of the team for once, and I really enjoyed playing with my team. I plan to play this year, too. I know this is something I can play after high school,” Jessica asserted.
She said the boys on the team accepted both she and Heinz even though they had moved into all-male territory as far as the school contests were concerned.
“On my team, I felt very accepted. But the other teams weren’t accustomed to having girls around, and I could tell by the way they acted. Once they got used to me being there, they just considered me one of the guys,” she explained.
Jessica said she was glad Allyson joined the team as well, because they have become good friends. “We got really close and became good friends while we were on the team. When we practiced, we stayed together. I felt like I could learn more from her, and I trusted her to help me,” Jessica said.
The other players — boys — on the team have also become good friends.
“I already knew them because they were friends with my boyfriend, but I got to know them a lot better by being on the team, and I think we are a lot closer than we used to be,” she said about her other teammates.
Jessica said her best golf shot is with the irons. “I’m fairly good at putting, not that great at driving, but my best shot is when I’m on the fairway and trying to get to the hole.”
Her most difficult shot is when she’s teeing off. “Driving is the most difficult for me because I don’t have the upper arm strength that the guys have, but I’ve been working on it some this summer,” Jessica admitted.
She said there is about three acres of land to work with around her house and she goes into her front yard to practice driving the ball.
“I also have a small putting green my dad bought for me to practice on in the house,” she added.
Jessica’s favorite course is Coharie, which is where she played her best game. “I shot a 121. That was the best game I had. I wasn’t the best player on the team, but I tried my best,” she said candidly.
Her favorite memory from the season was riding on the bus with her teammates, especially after a win. “It was hilarious. Our guys are really goofy,” she said with a laugh.
“After we won a match against James Kenan, Wallace, and Hobbton, everyone was so happy. It was the first match Lakewood had won in a long time. It was great. Everyone at school was so proud of us,” she said.
Golf head coach James Lewis has been a big influence on her and her feelings for the game.
“He took special time out with me because he saw a little bit of potential, and he’s always telling me I need to keep practicing,” she said.
Jessica said she used her own money to buy her golf clubs, but her parents, Pamela and Kevin, have been very supportive. “My mom went to one of my matches and I was surprised when they both went to my athletic banquet,” Jessica said proudly.
As for her job, Jessica said, “I model swimsuits and fashion and we travel a lot to different photography companies, so I used the money from my modeling jobs to pay for my golf clubs.”
She is also in pageants and recently won the title Miss Charlotte Teen USA 2013. In November, she will compete for Miss North Carolina Teen USA.
Besides being a pageant queen and novice athlete, Jessica is an Academic All-Star with an A average, and she was 12th in her junior class last year. She also received a mentor award and an Art Three award.
Her goal after graduation is to attend the Savanna College of Art and Design, majoring in fine arts with a minor in business. What does she want to do with those degrees?
“I want to open a pastry shop and design cakes,” she said.