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Midway • The ink on the poster had yet to dry when Lone Peak sprinted from the clubhouse. Exuberant screams echoed as the girls headed toward the water.
After surviving treacherous conditions for an overnight lead in the two-day Class 5A and 4A girls' golf state tournament at Wasatch Mountain Golf Course, the Knights posted a score of 678, using a modified Stableford point system, to capture their first state championship in school history, and, as if they weren't soaked enough from the first day they sprinted to the pond adjacent to the 18th green for a celebratory dip.
"I knew they were thinking if we win, we are heading to the water, and I thought 'we will see about that,'" said Lone Peak coach Gina Higbee on Tuesday. "Sure enough, they announced [the scores], and they took off. I thought 'Go enjoy your moment, get wet, do whatever you want, love every minute of it,' because they've earned it. They've been waiting for this moment."
After second-place Bingham (675), Davis, which was attempting to win its third consecutive title, was third with 655 points. Fremont (583) and Weber (568) rounded out the top five.
Lone Peak placed four girls in the top eight Masina Kaohelaulii (5th; 175), Lauren Taylor (6th; 173), Maddie Moss (T8th; 165) and Abbey Porter (T8th; 165).
"We've been working hard to win, so we had actually been planning what we wanted to do," Taylor said. "I think we are a kind of spunky-personality team, so jumping in the lake seemed like the only option."
Corner Canyon secured its first title in any sanctioned sport in school history with a total team score of 652 in Class 4A. Emma Winfree (168), Jamie Connell (172), Christiana Ciasca (167) and Kali Barlow (145) all scored for the Chargers.
Bountiful finished second, with 619 points, and Alta (602), two-time defending champion Provo (598) and Orem (583) completed the top five.
"I talked to the girls beforehand, and told them the pressure is on everybody else. They had to catch us," said Corner Canyon coach Ken Smikahl. "If they went out and played their game, we wouldn't have anything to worry about."
The individual race in the 4A classification provided one of the most thrilling events in any sport: sudden death playoff. After sleeping on a five-stroke lead, Bountiful's Jobi Einerson opened the door for Provo's two-time defending medalist Naomi Soifua, who finished with her second consecutive even-par round. Both posted a score of 180.
Both players missed the fairway on No. 18 in the playoff, but Einerson's drive trapped her behind a tree, altering her second shot. Soifua's subsequent approach plopped 15 feet from the pin, eventually allowing her to two-putt for par to claim her third straight title.
"My heart was racing so fast," said a visibly emotional Soifua, who finished 50 minutes before the final group, and, as she waited, assumed she placed second. "I had my coach with me [at No. 18], and he was reminding me of all these things: How many golf balls have you hit? How many tee shots have you played? He was trying to calm me down, and I went up to the tee box, and I was completely calm, like this is my hole. This is my tournament."
Davis' Laura Gerner, who finished third at state last year, seized the individual 5A medal with a two-day score of 184. She shot a 3-under 69 on Day 1 and followed with a 1-under par to win the tournament by four strokes ahead of Bingham's Carissa Graft (180). Last year's 5A medalist, Jessica Sloot, finished third for the Darts, with 179.
"It still hasn't sunk in," Gerner said. … "It's kind of [a feeling of] disappointment that our team couldn't come out on top, but it's so much excitement that, individually, I was able to play my best when it most mattered to me."
After a taxing two days featuring two programs winning their first titles in the sport, a first-time medalist and a dramatic come-from-behind playoff victory for a three-time junior champion players embraced one another, exchanging numbers for future rounds, but for those who hugged the Lone Peak girls, well...
"It might be a little bit smelly after being in the pond," Higbee said, "but it's well worth it."