DALLAS — Not every sports season goes as an athlete expects it to.
This was true for Tristan White, a senior at Dallas High School, as he experienced his final season of golf with the Dragons.
His vision of how the season would go didn’t come to fruition.
“It started off pretty good — about what I expected,” Tristan said, “but then by the time regionals came around, it wasn’t really what I wanted. When I envisioned the season from the beginning, I was thinking I would be making it to state.”
In last year’s golf season, Tristan was a few spots away from making it to the state tournament, which set up his expectation for this golf season of making it to state for his final season of high school golf.
“I was close last year (of going to state), so that meant that this year I should have easily been in the top 10,” he said, “but I wasn’t even in the top 10 this year, so that sucked a little bit
For most of the season, Tristan said he was stressed out about his performance on the green.
“(This year) I got better skill-wise, but I didn’t get better in that mental aspect, overcoming the stress and just playing golf how I know how to play,” he said. “I would say I was more stressed (this year) than the other two years,” he said. “It was kind of messing with me emotionally.”
And he had high expectations for himself.
“There were no expectations brought to me from other people, it was just myself,” he said. “But the expectations I gave myself were a little tough, and I didn’t quite meet them.”
Now that the season is over, Tristan said overall, he did have a good time.
“It was stressful for me, but as a whole I had fun with it,” he said. “I would love to still be playing, but the tournaments, I was always stressed about them. But if I had the chance to play another year I would. Now I can play golf just for fun, instead of worrying about what my score is. I wish I had figured that out in the season; I could have just had fun with it. My brother, he does very good with that — he just has fun with it.”
He may be critical of his personal performance, but he was happy for how the rest of his team did.
Senior Adam Nicholson, younger brother Xavier, a junior, and Tristan made it to regionals, which was held at Trysting Tree.
“When it came to my brother and Adam getting there as well, that part was pretty cool,” Tristan said. “And as three people making regionals, I did not expect that - so that part was cool. As a season for the team it was better than expected. For me, I expected better.”
Scoring a 90 and 89 for 179, and a 90 and 84 for 174, Tristan and Nicholson were both one spot away from making it to state.
Xavier shot an 88 and 89 for 176; he was two spots from making it.
The season did have some highlights in it — including a moment that Tristan was proud of.
“At practice I shot a 77, and that was a cool memory, just getting to the 70s for the first time,” Tristan said. “My dad has been playing since he was in his early 20s, and I watched him go into the low 70s, and that part was cool, just to know that I’m finally getting to that point. That was probably my favorite memory individually, was getting that score.”
He also had fun cheering on his teammates.
“I wanted my teammates to succeed just as much as I did,” he said, “and that’s probably my favorite part of the last couple years, is just getting to know my teammates to the point where I care about their successes just as much as mine.”
That’s part of the reason why head coach Jennie White believed that Tristan deserved the recognition as the I-O’s Athlete of the Year.
He’s a leader, she said.
“He works with the boys and is always teaching, even during his time that he is trying to work on his game.”
Not to mention, “he has been a scholar athlete all four years, and lettered the same,” she said.
Now that high school is over, Tristan is looking to study Biology at either Western Oregon University or Oregon State University.
Golf is something he said he plans on continuing.
“I don’t think I’m at the point where I can play in college, but I will continue to play golf in the future.”
He thinks everyone should try golf, at least once.
“I would recommend playing golf in high school to anybody,” he said. “It’s probably the toughest sport you will play mentally. Physically, people will joke around and say it’s not a sport. ... I’ve played many sports and I’d say golf is definitely the hardest on you mentally. You’re by yourself, You’re out on the course and you don’t necessarily know what to do, and when you’re playing rough, then usually it continues to be rough, and that’s when you need to strengthen yourself mentally, and that’s important for everybody. It’s not something you learn every day. It’s a cool thing to do, and that’s why I would recommend golf for anyone looking for a spring sport in high school.”