Golf is a game that requires patience and persistence. Just ask Hanna’s Alexis Rodriguez and her father, Xavier.
Whether it was picking up dozens upon dozens of golf balls and carefully setting them on tees at driving ranges or subtle reminders about correcting her form, Rodriguez’s father was up to the task.
The time spent with his youngest daughter paid off, as Rodriguez signed to play golf and attend McLennan Community College during a ceremony Friday in the Hanna gym.
McLennan is based in Waco, and the Highlanders compete in the NJCAA, where the women’s golf program recently finished fourth at the NJCAA national championship. The program won national titles in 1998, 2002, and 2007.
Rodriguez is in good company at McLennan — she’ll be following in the footsteps of her sister, Ali Rodriguez, who, after playing at McLennan, moved up to the Division II level in Arkansas after graduating from Hanna in 2016.
“She made me a better player,” Alexis said. “I wanted to be like her.”
Rodriguez had the chance to see the campus when she went to visit her sister. She is still exploring her field of study, but said she is interested in speech therapy.
First-year coach Andy Cornejo was impressed by Rodriguez’s work ethic; the dedication of her parents, Diana and Xavier, for helping encourage her to practice and develop her game; coming close to winning District 32-5A in 2018; and responding well when she didn’t perform up to her standards in this year’s district meet.
“Alexis has a passion for the game,” Cornejo said. “I’ve seen it in her at practice, every day, all the tournaments. She has great support for her parents, who are always there for her. … She’s a great kid. If I had a daughter, it would be her.”
Xavier, who said his athletic background was more suited to track & field, nonetheless said he was happy to spend time with his youngest daughter to pursue her passion, getting in extra practice rounds on weekends.
Rodriguez’s parents said the familiarity of the program at McLennan and the coaching staff’s connection to Ali made the recruitment process smoother and helped put their minds at ease.
“The coaches know us pretty well now,” Diana said. “My other daughter set a really good example.”