The Argyle High School boys golf team has some big shoes to fill, with the departure of Logan Diomede to Abilene Christian University this fall.
Diomede led the Eagles to a second-place team finish in the State Tournament last spring, which included a second-place individual finish, shooting a 143 for the two-day competition and just two strokes back of State Champion Jack Burke.
Coach Cody Vanderford said that, while Diomede’s contributions will certainly be missed this season, it is time to start searching for the heir apparent.
“Losing a strong leader like Logan is always tough,” Vanderford said. “I think it takes time for our leaders to step in and try and replace someone like him. We have no seniors on our team this year and we are looking for all of our juniors to step up, including Justus.”
Justus Christman, a sophomore last season, shot a 152 and turned a lot of heads at the State Tournament as an underclassmen in 2019.
The Argyle teen is aspiring to assume the leadership role for the Argyle boys golf team in the spring. Vanderford said, with the right amount of commitment and work ethic, Christman might just accomplish his objective.
“Justus has what I would call an untapped potential,” Vanderford said. “He played at a very high level for us late last year and has the ability to play as a number-one player. His fall [season] wasn’t as strong as he would like, but we feel with a good winter, this spring could be good.”
Christman had the second-lowest score at the State Tournament last spring and said that reaching State in 2019 and being a part of a team that outplayed eventual State Champion Monahans on the second day of the tournament was a thrill for him.
“Last season was a great experience,” Christman said. “Winning District and placing third individually was definitely a good start to our UIL tournament season. Winning Regionals was a really good boost of confidence for me and my team as well.
“Medalling at State was something I was proud to be a part of and proud to contribute towards, but there’s something about getting so close and falling just short of gold that really sticks with you.”
Accordingly, the Argyle teen said he has one major objective on his mind for 2020.
“First and foremost, my goal is for us to win a State Championship,” Christman said. “We got close last year, but didn’t pull it off … I think we still have enough firepower to get it done.”
The Argyle boys enjoy a proud tradition in the sport of golf, advancing to the State Tournament every season from 2012-2019– and winning State titles in 2015, 2016 and 2017.
Christman, 16, said he tries to bring leadership, a low score, lighthearted humor and advice and guidance to the younger golfers at Argyle High School. He acknowledged that the Eagles will have a few hurdles to overcome to reach the promised-land once again.
“Logan was a great anchor for the team, on and off the course,” Christman said. “He was a great leader and really helped keep everyone steady … there’s something about his leadership off the course that will be missed.”
From a personal standpoint, Christman lives with type 1 Diabetes, which presents its own set of unique challenges.
“That not only affects me off the course, but I constantly have to be managing it, dealing with it and making sure everything is stable blood sugar-wise while playing,” Christman said. “Things can get out of whack, which affects my stamina, concentration and just overall physical performance, when it comes to my game.”
The Argyle High School junior has also recently discovered a hobby– of which he is quite fond– the sport of fishing.
“This has been something that I have enjoyed, but has also unfortunately taken a toll on my golf game,” Christman said. “The extra time I would have normally spent hitting a few extra balls or rolling a couple more putts, is now spent with a rod and reel on the side of a pond.”
One thing that is for certain, however, is Christman’s confidence that his team can get back to State and challenge for a State Championship and his determination to be one of the players who sets the tone.
“I think it will take a lot of focused practice and a sort of team bond and commitment to each other,” Christman said. “If we have that bond and commitment, we will be able to hold each other accountable and, hopefully, experience an uplifting and encouraging environment on and off the course.”
Vanderford said he believes his team is capable of getting back to State, but added that golf is a tough sport and it will take a lot of hard work and players like Justus peaking at the right time.
“Justus is a well-rounded young man,” Vanderford said. “He does very well in school, is very active in church, well-liked by his teachers and lives his life as a diabetic. He deals with more than most, but never complains. One of the best things I can say about Justus is the fact that every time I have challenged him, he has stepped up for us. We are going to need him to step up again for us this spring, if we hope to medal at the State Tournament.”