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.
â€œIt was very exciting,â€ said Valkyries coach Leslie Bender, whose program now owns a state-best seven team titles. â€œWe hoped that what we had was good enough to win andâ€¦ we were fortunate to play well and come home with the victory.â€
The defending champions decked the field at the Leachman Buick-GMC-Cadillac/KHSAA State Championship with a two-day score of 320-316 â€“ 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 â€“ 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 Gummâ€™s fourth career runner-up finish at State.
Mercy senior Chau Tran finished in a tie for 14th at 73-84 â€“ 157.
After the first round, Sacred Heart led Calloway County by eight strokes.
â€œWe just focused on playing our game because we knew that eight strokes wasnâ€™t that much of a lead,â€ said sophomore Maddie Rose Hamilton, one of four returnees from last yearâ€™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).
â€œIâ€™m really proud of these girls,â€ said Bender. â€œItâ€™s such a great group andâ€¦ itâ€™s been awesome all year.â€
The win was even sweeter considering the Valkyriesâ€™ only loss during the season came to Calloway County at Sacred Heartâ€™s Bunny Daugherty Invitational last month.
â€œIt was a huge motivation factor,â€ said Hamilton. â€œWe saw that there was a really good team that could potentially beat us so we had to step up our game.
â€œWhen we do that we donâ€™t get beat.â€
The St. Xavier golf teamâ€™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.
â€œWe came out a little flat and West Jessamine played a great round,â€ said St. X coach Dan Utley. â€œThey shot even par on the final round of the state tournament and did what they needed to make the comeback.â€
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 Jessamineâ€™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.
â€œWe didnâ€™t necessarily have our A-game, but we still held the lead going into the last hole,â€ said Utley. â€œUltimately it just came down to the final hole.â€
After finishing second last year, West Jessamine junior Fred Allen Meyer fired a 71-70 â€“ 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. Xâ€™s Stephen Stallings, the 2011 individual champion, led the Tigers and earned a share of third with a 71-74 â€“ 145. Rounding out the scoring for St. X were Mike Sass (7th, 70-78 â€“ 148), Brendon Doyle (T9, 75-76 â€“ 151), Cooper Musselman (T9, 77-74 â€“ 151) and Lucas Jones (T52, 82-81 â€“ 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 nationâ€™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 firstname.lastname@example.org.