It was all just a little bit of history repeating as the Sacred Heart Academy golf team placed four players among the top 40 and claimed its second straight state title on Oct. 3 at Bowling Green Country Club.
“It was very exciting,” said Valkyries coach Leslie Bender, whose program now owns a state-best seven team titles. “We hoped that what we had was good enough to win and… we were fortunate to play well and come home with the victory.”
The defending champions decked the field at the Leachman Buick-GMC-Cadillac/KHSAA State Championship with a two-day score of 320-316 – 636. Runner up Calloway County was 22 shots back at 658 and Henry Clay was third (668).
Calloway County sophomore Anna Hack carded a 2-under par 68-74 – 142 to win individual honors. North Hardin senior Lydia Gumm, who was competing in her 10th consecutive state tournament, took second with a 2-over 146. It was Gumm’s fourth career runner-up finish at State.
Mercy senior Chau Tran finished in a tie for 14th at 73-84 – 157.
After the first round, Sacred Heart led Calloway County by eight strokes.
“We just focused on playing our game because we knew that eight strokes wasn’t that much of a lead,” said sophomore Maddie Rose Hamilton, one of four returnees from last year’s team.
Hamilton fired a two-day score of 149 and finished in a tie for third. Following Hamilton for Sacred Heart were senior Katie Page (T14, 157), sophomore Meredith Moir (T28, 163), junior Rachel Gathof (39th, 169) and senior Gabrielle Miller (T44, 172).
“I’m really proud of these girls,” said Bender. “It’s such a great group and… it’s been awesome all year.”
The win was even sweeter considering the Valkyries’ only loss during the season came to Calloway County at Sacred Heart’s Bunny Daugherty Invitational last month.
“It was a huge motivation factor,” said Hamilton. “We saw that there was a really good team that could potentially beat us so we had to step up our game.
“When we do that we don’t get beat.”
The St. Xavier golf team’s pursuit of state title No. 19 was derailed on Oct. 6 by a red-hot West Jessamine squad that closed strong and edged the Tigers 593-595 at Bowling Green Country Club.
“We came out a little flat and West Jessamine played a great round,” said St. X coach Dan Utley. “They shot even par on the final round of the state tournament and did what they needed to make the comeback.”
The Tigers led by 12 strokes after the first day of play and held a two-shot lead going into the final hole, but all four of West Jessamine’s scorers birdied, while St. X played the hole at even par. The four-stroke swing gave the school from Nicholasville its first-ever crown.
“We didn’t necessarily have our A-game, but we still held the lead going into the last hole,” said Utley. “Ultimately it just came down to the final hole.”
After finishing second last year, West Jessamine junior Fred Allen Meyer fired a 71-70 – 141 and downed Joey Mayo of St. Mary on the second hole of a sudden-death playoff to win individual honors.
Christian Academy senior Ben Montgomery tied for fifth with a two-day total of 147.
St. X’s Stephen Stallings, the 2011 individual champion, led the Tigers and earned a share of third with a 71-74 – 145. Rounding out the scoring for St. X were Mike Sass (7th, 70-78 – 148), Brendon Doyle (T9, 75-76 – 151), Cooper Musselman (T9, 77-74 – 151) and Lucas Jones (T52, 82-81 – 163).
Trinity coach Bob Beatty was recently named head coach of the East squad for the 2013 U.S. Army All-American Bowl.
Slated for Jan. 5 at the Alamodome in San Antonio, the game features 90 of the nation’s top high school seniors and will be televised live by NBC.
Beatty, an assistant for the West team last January, has an overall record of 161-21 at Trinity, including nine state titles.
Assumption maintained its No. 1 ranking in the latest Kentucky Volleyball Coaches Association Top-25 poll. The Rockets entered district play this week undefeated against in-state competition with a 33-2 record. Both losses came to Torrey Pines (Calif.), a team ranked No. 1 nationally by PrepVolleyball.com. Assumption is No. 2 nationally.
Other Louisville-area teams in the state poll were No. 3 Sacred Heart, No. 5 Mercy, No. 7 Manual, No. 10 Male, No. 11 Holy Cross, No. 12 Presentation, No. 15 North Oldham, No. 19 South Oldham and No. 24 Eastern.
Contact columnist Chris Cahill at email@example.com.