Don’t tell that to Spanish Springs’ standout senior golfer Trae Jones.
At the end of her eighth grade year, Jones made a bet with junior-to-be golfer, Devin Gaddis. If Gaddis could swim further than Jones underwater while holding her breath, Jones had to go out for the golf team her freshman year.
It’s fair to say Jones’ swimming talents aren’t up to par with her golfing talents. Since losing the bet three-and-a-half years ago, Jones has become one of the best golfers in the state.
In just her second year, her sophomore season, Jones earned High Desert League Player of the Year honors.
“I am (glad I lost the bet), it’s pretty cool,” Jones said after shooting a 79 (tied for third) in the first round of the regional tournament Tuesday. “I wouldn’t have been on the golf team. I wouldn’t have all these friends I have now.”
As her senior season, and high school golfing career comes to a close, Jones did not say she is going to miss outdriving opponents most. She wins off the tee with regularity. She did not say she is going to miss winning tournament after tournament most. The Cougars seemingly win every tournament they enter. She said she is going to miss playing with her teammates more than anything.
She found her two best friends, Katrina Prendergast and Katrina Weil, on the team.
While joining the top tier of golfers in the state, Jones has become the unquestioned leader of the Cougars looking to defend their state title.
“She’s the team leader, not one of the team leaders,” Spanish Springs coach Mike Bosco said. “All the girls look up to her and she’s just a great role model to have. She makes my job easier. She really does. She’s just a great kid.”
Jones’ success extends off the course and into the classroom. While taking a bevy of Advance Placement (AP) classes, the senior has earned a 4.3 weighted grade point average.
Jones plans to play collegiately and with her success on and off the course, she will have a few options. The University of Nevada-Reno scouted Jones in the first round of the regional tournament Tuesday at Rosewood Lakes Golf Course. Jones’ sister, Tess, is a junior on the Wolf Pack girls golf team.
The senior said she is also considering going out of state and, with her mom watching, said she would love to trade the mountains for the beach and attend San Diego State University.
“Tess stayed, she can deal with it,” Jones said with a laugh of the possibility moving to southern California.
Jones plans to study civil engineering at whichever school she lands but admits she could take a different engineering path once she begins taking classes.
When she isn’t golfing, Jones does what she can to stay outdoors. She wakeboards, snowboards, hikes and runs even though she admits it’s not her favorite.
As she prepares to trade in the Cougar purple for an undecided NCAA uniform, Jones said she wants to be remembered for her integrity and attitude on the course. Don’t expect to catch her throwing her nine iron into the lake.
“You can’t replace someone like that. You just can’t,” Bosco said. “She’s been in the program four years and she’s been one of the girls that have had a spot four years in a row. You can’t replace Trae Jones.”
When she was an underclassman, she would let an occasional tear fall when she wasn’t playing well.
Now a composed senior, she said the tears could fall again after the final round of the regional tournament Wednesday. Unlike when she was an underclassman however, they won’t be tears of frustration. They will be tears of heartfelt emotion as one adventure ends, and another starts.
“It’s definitely sad,” Jones said. “Going back to that bet when I was a freshman, I never thought I have such emotion over it when my senior year came around.”