Cooper, Aggies make program history with NCAA semifinal appearance

With Montgomery High School alumna Hailee Cooper, the Texas A&M Aggies women’s golf team reached the semifinals of the NCAA Tournament on Tuesday.

Playing at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Arizona, the Aggies defeated Florida State 3-2 in the team match play format in the quarterfinals.

Texas A&M then fell in the semifinals — the farthest the Aggies have ever reached — as Oregon won 4-1 to advance to Wednesday’s championship.

The Aggies toted home a national semifinalist trophy for its effort.

Cooper, a former individual state champion for the Montgomery Bears in 2015, transferred to Texas A&M prior to the school year after a strong start to her collegiate career at Texas.

Cooper lost both of her matches, but was in a prime spot late against Oregon. Down a hole, Cooper’s opponent Briana Chacon sunk a 20-foot putt on No. 17 to secure the win and the point for the Ducks.

Cooper was down five to Chacon to begin the back nine before winning three out of four holes. The senior couldn’t complete the comeback to fall 2&1.

Against Florida State, Cooper fell 3&2 to Elle Johnson. Starting at No. 9, Cooper fell behind by as many as five on the first nine. She cut the deficit to two holes by No. 2 on the final nine holes, but couldn’t get closer.


McKenzie Parker (Willis) and the Texas Longhorns grinded out an NCAA Regional championship Sunday after a 3-2 win over the host Washington Huskies on Sunday. Texas fell 2-1 earlier in the day to Washington to setup the winner-take-all game. Over four games of the tournament, Parker, a junior infielder, had two hits, a walk and an RBI. Texas travels to Arkansas for the Super Regional round. Game 1 is Thursday.

It was a tough finish, but Emiley Kennedy (Lake Creek) and the Texas A&M Aggies earned some major experience at the NCAA Norman Regional against No. 1 Oklahoma over the weekend. The Sooners won the regional championship 20-0 over the Aggies on Sunday to advance. Kennedy pitched 21/3 and allowed eight earned to the red-hot Sooners. Kennedy concluded her freshman year with 1402/3 innings worked, a 2.94 ERA and 110 strikeouts.

Kelcy Leach (The Woodlands) had two hits over four games as the Tennessee Lady Vols fell twice at home to Oregon State to fall in the Knoxville Regional. Leach had a double in the first of three games against the Beavers.

Kayla Falterman (The Woodlands) concluded her freshman year at Louisiana Lafayette with one hit over four games at the Clemson Regional over the weekend. The former Highlander ends the season with a .414 batting average.

Skylar Sirdashney (The Woodlands) was held to a hit over four games for Wisconsin at the Gainesville Regional. The sophomore batted .261 on the season with 14 RBIs.

Ashley Vallejo (Willis) and Shaelyn Sanders (Splendora) both pitched in relief for McNeese State on Sunday as the Cowgirls fell to Northwestern in the Evansville Regional championship, 10-2. Vallejo came in off a complete-game win over Notre Dame on Saturday. She struck out three and allowed five hits in a 3-1 win over the Fighting Irish. Alayis Seneca (The Woodlands) was held to one hit in five at-bats during the tournament.


Texas Tech junior Brandon Birdsell (Willis) was named Big 12 Pitcher of the Year. The former Wildkat was 8-3 with a 2.75 ERA in 72 innings logged for the Red Raiders. Opponents hit a league-low .204 against the righthander and he as second in strikeouts with 96. Texas Tech began the Big 12 Tournament on Wednesday in Arlington.

Cam Caley (The Woodlands) was a Big 12 honorable mention for the Baylor Bears. Caley, a sophomore, pitched 20 times in the regular season with three starts and a 4-0 record. The sophomore struck out 23 in 321/3 innings. He also played left field and batted .316 with six RBIs.