By Amanda Eggert EBS Staff Writer
BIG SKY – Last season, the Lone Peak High School girls’ golf team missed the State C championship title by 10 strokes. Not this year.
Despite a small squad—all three of LPHS’s golfers on the girls’ team competed at State—the team wrapped up the 2016 season May 17-18 with a first place finish at the state District C State Tournament in Hamilton. On the boys’ side, senior Charlie Johnson notched a top-10 finish to close out the season.
It may be small, but LPHS has a skilled girls’ golf team. In Class C, each team selects up to four qualifying golfers to compete at State, and the scores of the top three are totaled to determine the winning team. LPHS didn’t have a fourth girl to participate, so the performance of each team member was crucial to Big Sky’s success.
Five shots behind LPHS, Harlowton earned second place, and Powder River took third, finishing 19 shots behind Harlowton. LPHS coach Jenny Wilcynski said the championship title has been getting increasingly competitive as more schools enter the State tournament.
Each girl’s play improved significantly on the second day of the tournament. Collectively, they shaved 24 shots off their total between Tuesday and Wednesday. “Everything started to click for them and we got the results I think all of them had wanted,” Wilcynski said.
Team captain and senior Katie Reid led the girls’ team both days, shooting 105 on May 17 and 93 on May 18. Wilcynski said she expected Reid to finish in the top 10, but was hoping she’d place fifth or better; Reid tied for fourth overall.
Junior Sayler Tatom scored 110 on the first day and 108 on the second, tying for 15th place, while sophomore Delaney Pruiett rounded out the triple threat, shooting 116 and 106, respectively.
Reid said the team talked after the first day of play and decided to work collectively to lower their scores in order to advance from their third-place position. “Instead of worrying about lowering our scores individually, we wanted to work as a team to get a team title,” she said.
Charlie Johnson, the boys’ team captain and the only senior on the team of eight shot 84 and 86, resulting in a sixth-place finish. “I know he was hoping for a top 10 win and he really nailed it,” Wilcynski said. “We’re super proud of him.”
Wilcynski said scores in the state tournament were about five shots higher than expected, adding that Hamilton Golf Club has a tough course with fast greens. “We had hoped for very few three-putts and what we found was most scores definitely reflect three to four putts per hole.”
Johnson was joined at the state tournament by two sophomores, Nick Iskenderian and Harry Schreiner. The boys’ team finished in 13th place.
“It’s a really big deal for those guys to get out and get to State and see what it’s all about,” Wilcynski said. “I think that will really help for next year’s team.”
“This is our first championship for girls’ golf,” she added. “As coaches, we’re pretty excited for Lone Peak.”
Reid echoed Wilcynski’s excitement. “We’ve been practicing a ton,” she said. “It’s really awesome to bring home first place and show people how hard we