Idabel’s Ashley Ryals – Athlete Spotlight Presented By McCurtain County National Bank

If you play the game of golf long enough, you understand there will be weather delays and even cancellation of tournaments. But the impact of the virus outbreak not only forced cancellation of the spring sports season but also kept Ashley Ryals in the clubhouse wondering what might have been.

“To say I’m disappointed is an understatement. I was playing my best golf ever. I had no doubts I could make it back to state,” replied the Idabel senior. “I just have to refocus and prepare for what’s ahead.”

The future golf schedule for Ryals is certain including beginning her college career at Murray State College in Tishomingo on a golf scholarship while simultaneously pursuing a degree in Computer Information Systems.

Having observed the continual efforts of Ryals to improve her golf game, Idabel coach Claire Lehr praises the confidence of the Lady Warriors one bag.

“Ash first started playing golf when she was a freshman and she was your typical quiet and shy rookie,” said Lehr who has served as the Idabel girls’ coach for five years. “She not only has worked to become a better golfer through endless practice but also becoming a leader for others to follow.”

Ryals admits her long game, off the tee or from the fairway is her strong suit with a golf club in her hand. And whenever she’s walking to the next shot, she can still hear her father’s word of advice.

“It’s all about the mental approach,” explained Ryals, thankful for the continual family support. “He says Ashley remember golf is played the six inches between your ears.”

Taking advantage of living on the golf course, Ryals is constantly practicing her golf game while focusing on her a love for computers.

“Some people might call me a computer geek who plays golf,” chuckled Ryals who maintained concurrent studies at Kiamichi Technology Center enrolled in Interactive Media.

Echoing the confidence of Ryals, the Idabel coach was certain the senior golfer would reach the state tournament for a fourth straight year.

“I have no doubt that Ashley would’ve reached the state tournament,” Lehr said in an emphatic voice. “Last year, after a solid first day, she finished among the top 25 golfers on the Class 3A leaderboard. She deserved another chance.”

So what if…the OSSAA state championships would’ve been played and Ryals had won a state title. A lover of country music, she’d like to have Blake Shelton as the entertainment but what would she choose for the Champions Dinner menu?

“I guess I’d pick lasagna for the entrée but definitely the dessert would be my grandma’s peach cobbler with a side of ice cream. It’s the best!”