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Fri, March 22

Lee Williams’ Lucero signs at the University of Nebraska Kearney

Lee Williams senior Paige Lucero will continue her golf career at the University of Nebraska Kearney. (Photo by Beau Bearden/Daily Miner)

Lee Williams senior Paige Lucero will continue her golf career at the University of Nebraska Kearney. (Photo by Beau Bearden/Daily Miner)

KINGMAN – Paige Lucero originally wanted to do what many end up doing – pick a college close to home.

But after some thought, the Lee Williams High School senior decided to focus on what matters most – academics.

And luckily for Lucero, she had some help.

“Mr. Blake, our athletic trainer, actually pointed us to University of Nebraska Kearney because he went there and I’m hoping to study the same field as him in athletic training,” Lucero said. “(But) I was like, ‘I don’t know.’ It’s cold, it’s snowy and you don’t play golf in the snow. Then we got there and I just fell in love. I loved it there – I loved the town, I loved the coach and the girls that I met. It was just a great place.”

Lucero will soon call the University of Nebraska Kearney home as she made her choice official Monday afternoon surrounded by family, friends and teammates. That won’t be as easy when she’s more than 1,000 miles away, but she knows they will always have her back.

“They’re there to support me,” Lucero said. “They’ll still be there even if they’re not there in person. I still have their support and I can go to them for anything. For that, I’m thankful.”

That bond will be especially important as Lucero joins a new team in a different environment. It’s too early to tell where the journey will take her, but she is determined.

“I’m definitely going to have to put my work in,” Lucero said. “Going in anywhere you have to work hard because nothing is just handed to you. And I think I’ve learned that with Haley (Bradley) and everyone. I have to put my work in, but when you do – it pays off. Hard work and determination has taught me to be disciplined, work for everything and everything will come to you that you need.”

Bradley, the Lady Vols’ head coach, has played an instrumental role in Lucero’s development and no one knows that more than Lucero.

“It’s going to be different without Haley because she’s been such a big part of my life,” Lucero said. “But I know she’s always there. If I need anything, I can turn around and call her.”

Lucero also joked that she might have to buy Bradley some jackets for her to visit.

But Bradley is one step ahead.

“I already looked at the schedule and I’m hoping the Phoenix trips I’ll be able to go and watch,” she said.

Most importantly, though, Bradley knows Lucero has what it takes to continue her success at the next level.

“She’s going to be great,” Bradley said. “Just more knowledge and learning from somebody different will always make her a better golfer. She has a fun ride ahead of her.”

But before Lucero begins that ride, she’ll finish another one – her high school career.

It will soon be over and she’ll have a lot to look back on.

“The thing that sticks out the most at Lee Williams is everyone here is a family,” Lucero said. “Everyone is here to help you and be there for you. I think that’s something that I’ll experience in Kearney, maybe just not as strong. But I’m always going to be thankful for the new adventure and the stuff that Lee Williams has given me.”

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