Fall sports in full swing

| October 13, 2011
Neil Henley has been on a goal-scoring tear for St. X.

Neil Henley has been on a goal-scoring tear for St. X.

Great year for St. X’s Henley

District play began this week with no team hotter heading into the post-season than St. Xavier. The top-ranked Tigers (19-1-1 entering this week) rattled off 18 straight wins to finish the regular season and are enjoying major production from senior forward Neil Henley.

Henley has been on a goal-scoring tear since missing four early season games due to a hip flexor injury. The Xavier University commit has netted 21 goals in only 15 games and added 10 assists as well. He entered district play on an eight game scoring streak.

St. X Coach Andy Schulten attributes Henley’s effectiveness to a combination of strength and technical ability.

“He’s an incredible physical specimen with good balance and a very accurate shot,” he said.

“He has an acceleration that makes him hard to defend and I don’t think even he knows how fast he is,” Schulten added.

Ex-Trinity golfer wins for St. X!

St. Xavier’s Stephen Stallings copped the individual title last Wednesday after carding a two-day 2-over-par 146 (72-74).

The junior edged Fred Allen Meyer of West Jessamine by two strokes (73-75) and became the seventh individual champion from St. X in the last 13 years.

Stallings, who transferred from Trinity following his freshman year, was an unlikely winner after posting an 82 at the regional qualifier, the highest score among his teammates.

Stallings chipped onto the green at 18 during his final round last Wednesday.

Stallings chipped onto the green at 18 during his final round last Wednesday.

“I was struggling quite a bit and I think coming in with low expectations helped,” he said. “I just tried to get out of my way mentally and focus on making shots.”

The lefty said the course at Bowling Green Country Club played “brutally tough”, but favored long hitters.

“The greens were really firm and it was hard stopping the ball, but I kept my driver in play and was able to take wedges into the greens,” he said. “I wasn’t perfect, but I executed my game plan pretty good.”

Coach Dan Utley credited Stallings’ determination in dealing with an up-and-down final round that included five bogeys and three birdies.

“He made bogeys, but he wasn’t playing badly,” Utley said. “The best thing he did was make bogeys…not double-bogeys. You can survive a bogey.”

Rounding out the Tigers’ contingent were sophomore Brendon Doyle, who tied for 23rd with a 156, followed by juniors Cooper Musselman (T32, 159), Ben Sullivan (T56, 165) and Lucas Jones (75th, 175).

Lexington Christian claimed its second straight team title with a total of 614. Paducah St. Mary finished second (616) and St. X third (626).

Stallings, who has gotten early interest from Kentucky, Louisville, Ole Miss and Purdue, is already looking forward to next season.

“I can’t wait to defend,” he said.

Jacob Thomson cruised to a first-place finish at the Male Invitational.

Jacob Thomson cruised to a first-place finish at the Male Invitational.

Gawarecki, Thomson standouts at Male

Jacob Thomson of Holy Cross cruised to an easy victory in the boys’ 5K at the Male Invitational last Saturday at McNeely Lake Park. The junior, who used the race as a tune-up for this weekend’s Lexington Catholic Invitational, crossed the line in 16:33.40.

Male placed five runners in the top 10 and finished first in the boys’ team standings.

Freshman Karly Gawarecki (Holy Cross) won the girls’ 5K in 20:07.98 and the Cougars took the team title as well, placing three runners in the top 6.

Members of Sacred Heart Academy’s state champion golf team from left to right: Katie Gathof, Maddie Rose Hamilton, Emily Tofaute, Katie Page and Rachel Gathof.

Members of Sacred Heart Academy’s state champion golf team from left to right: Katie Gathof, Maddie Rose Hamilton, Emily Tofaute, Katie Page and Rachel Gathof.

Sacred Heart golf champs!

Enough was enough for the Sacred Heart Academy golf team.

After finishing second to Green County the past two seasons, the Valkyries showed no mercy in taking the team title by a staggering 43-stroke margin at last Saturday’s Leachman Buick-GMC-Cadillac/KHSAA State Golf Championships at Bowling Green Country Club.

Sacred Heart’s two-day total of 649 bested runner-up Green County (692) and third place Williamsburg (693).

It was a record sixth state championship for the Valkyries, who last won in 1993.

“All season we’ve played well and knew we could take home the title,” said senior Emily Tofaute.

The Florida Southern commit was tops among the Valkyries, finishing tied for ninth place with a two-day total of 157. Behind her were junior Katie Page (T12, 161), sophomore Rachel Gathof (T21, 165), freshman Maddie Rose Hamilton (24th, 166) and sophomore Katie Gathof (51st, 182).

“They played their hearts out and I was very proud of the way they performed,” said coach Leslie Bender. “It was nice to win and to feel relaxed doing it because we had such a margin of victory.”

Senior Emma Talley of Caldwell County won the individual title with a 6-under-par 138.

Contact columnist Chris Cahill at ccahill@voice-tribune.com.

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Chris Cahill

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