MISSION — Sharyland High senior Maialen Erana grew up on golf courses, playing with her family.

As an eighth grader, she watched her older sister and Sharyland alum Ana Jose extend her golf career by signing to compete at the college level.

Seeing her older sister earn that opportunity sparked a fire in Maialen as she set out to play well enough in high school to also play college golf.

“At first, I wasn’t really that interested in it (golf), but my dad saw I had a natural ability at it. He would take me to practice, started putting me in lessons, and it was probably in middle school when I really got into and started enjoying it,” Erana said.

Surrounded by family, friends and coaches Tuesday, Maialen Erana made it official as she signed to continue her golf and academic career at Concordia University in Austin, a Division III school which competes in the American Southwest Conference.

“I feel accomplished because there are a lot of moments where you question, ‘Is this all going to pay off?’ Starting to see that pay off, I know it’s a lot more work, but I’m excited for it,” Erana said. “It’s exciting to go play at the next level and go prove yourself and show what you’re made of.”

Erana is a four-year letterman and was an individual regional qualifier during her freshman year. As a senior, Erana was named to the 31-5A All-District First Team. As a junior and sophomore, she was a second and third team all-district selection. Throughout her high school career, Erana posted five top 10 varsity finishes.

Once her high school practices were over, Erana’s days weren’t done. Her father would drive her to the golf course, and once she was able to drive, she’d make the trip herself to put in extra work.

“I think it just takes a lot of self-discipline, and that’s something our parents taught us when we were really young. If you really like something and you have a talent at something, in order for you to be successful, you have to put in the work. Having that support system and having my parents there was a big help,” she said.

Erana was part of a Sharyland High girls golf team that reached the state tournament seven consecutive seasons, one of the longest streaks in the Rio Grande Valley.

Now, she’ll take her game up to Austin’s Concordia University, just as her sister went from Sharyland High to Austin’s St. Edwards University.

“As for my expectations, I know from my sister about what it’s like. All this work you put in, you have to multiply it times 10 and put even more work in,” Erana said. “Just work every single day trying to work your hardest to be the best that you can. I think if you try your best and you feel satisfied with the work that you’re putting in, I feel that’s the best thing one can do.”

bramos@themonitor.com