Madison Williams, last year’s Calhoun County girls golfer of the year, had gone off to college, leaving Alexandria to seek a new No. 1 and the county without a recognized dominant player.
Gregoria, an athletic 10th-grader with tons of golf experience, was more than up for the challenge and was the easy choice to succeed her former teammate as The Anniston Star’s Calhoun County girls golfer of the year.
Her resume was strong. She won the County girls individual title by double digits, led the Valley Cups to another county title and was seventh in the state.
“There was no doubt it would be Jordan,” Valley Cubs girls coach Brenard Howard said. “When you watch her play, she really doesn’t hit a bad shot. I’ve never seen anyone as consistent hitting her clubs as she was.
“She was always able to strike the ball really well, so we always knew she’d have a good score. We could always depend on her for anything from 77 to 82 at the most. She was just really consistent. She has struck it so well since she was in the seventh grade.”
The 82 and 77 were exactly the numbers Gregoria posted at Pine Hill Country Club when she won the county crown by 10 shots over teammate Katie Roberts.
She shot 83 in the sectionals, 82 in the rain at the sub-state, and then rounds of 77-84 in the Class 1A-5A state tournament at The Shoals.
“Going into this season I knew I was going to have to step it up because Madison graduated,” Gregoria said. “She always gave it her best and I’d have to do the same.
“I was going to have to shoot the low score so we could win county, sectional and sub-state. I knew I’d have to do what Madison did and even better. I was comfortable with it; I knew I could do it. It made me feel good that they had trust in me that I could do it. It gave me the urge to do better.”
The Valley Cubs had their sights set on their first state title since 2008, and Gregoria was particularly sharp in the opening round.
She had four birdies in the round, three on the back nine, which she played in 1-over par. She came out of the day in fourth place and finished seventh overall.
It didn’t surprise Williams. She never doubted Gregoria could handle carrying the torch after she left for Columbus State.
“Unless somebody really just stepped up and got a lot better,” Williams said. “Jordan is just so consistent, and this year she really stepped up in some big tournaments. She steps up when she knows she has to have a good round for the team and herself. Jordan is very talented. She has a chance to do some special things.”
Al Muskewitz covers golf for The Star. He can be reached at 256-235-3577.