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Playing smart: Seniors swing way to top of the course and classroom

By Reece Waddell | Published Saturday, March 24, 2018
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On Course and In Course

ON COURSE AND IN COURSE – Bridgeport golfers Katie Hudson (left) and Cole Barton are graduating at the top of their class. Barton is projected to be valedictorian, and Hudson is pegged to be salutatorian. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

The green at Bridgeport Country Club was empty.

Practice didn’t start for a half hour, but Cole Barton and Katie Hudson already had their putters out working on their short game. As they maneuvered around the hole, Barton and Hudson carefully analyzed each shot.

They admit they’re their toughest critics.

Whether it’s in the classroom or on the back nine, Barton and Hudson always strive for excellence. Along with being two of Bridgeport’s top golfers, they’re on track to graduate valedictorian and salutatorian of their senior class.

Cole Barton

“I’m in a unique situation where I get to see them out here on the golf course, and I’ve had them in my AP economics class,” said Bridgeport coach Alan Green. “[They’re] very sharp. You just know some kids that come through are going to do great, and those are two that are going to do fantastic in life.”

Barton is first in the class with a GPA of 4.839. He is planning to attend Colorado School of Mines and major in chemical engineering. He has received around $17,000 in scholarships so far.

Hudson is second with a GPA of 4.596 and will attend Texas Tech University. She will major in nutrition and start on the path to pre-nursing.

Barton and Hudson are taking five advanced placement (AP) classes: chemistry, calculus, economics, government and English. Despite their rigorous course load, Barton said he does not worry about upcoming exams.

“Honestly, lots of people kind of dread test days – I kind of enjoy them,” Barton said. “I don’t have any stress going into them.”

Fast-paced courses, AP classes are designed to teach college-level content to high schoolers. At the end of the year, students take an exam and have the opportunity to earn college credit depending on their scores. Each college awards credit differently.

There are typically pages of reading and homework each night.

“I study, but I don’t really think of it as studying,” Barton said. “I’ll read the textbooks just because I want to learn it. It’s not really a chore.”

Hudson thought otherwise.

Katie Hudson

“It’s a chore,” she said with a laugh.

Barton said he has been fortunate enough to capitalize on his natural learning ability in the classroom but has enjoyed the challenge of developing his golf game. Barton carded a season-best 81 at Champion’s Circle March 1. He fired an 85 at Oakmont on Feb. 12 and an 87 at Graham on March 5.

“Cole is a really good ball striker,” Green said. “If he can get his short game going, he has a chance to put up a really good number.”

Hudson did not start playing golf until after her freshman year.

She has finished first at every tournament Bridgeport has competed in this year. Even though she had one of her best rounds last week at Turtle Hill, Hudson was not satisfied with her 78.

“I was actually really frustrated because I was around even par, and I had two holes that cost me six strokes,” Hudson said. “I was six over. It’s awesome to shoot in the 70s, but I was like, ‘Dang it. I could have gotten a few of those strokes back.'”

Barton and Hudson are scheduled to graduate May 22 in a ceremony at the University of North Texas. They will compete in the District 9-4A tournament April 6 and 9 at Robson Ranch in Denton.

Green said it’s no surprise Barton and Hudson have experienced success both in the classroom and on the golf course.

“There’s no coincidence there,” Green said. “[They are] just a great mix of kids. I’m really gonna miss them. Not only for golf, but just who they are as students and people.

“Those are the type kids that you’re in education [for], that really stick with you for years after you leave.”

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