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Crusader girls, Challenger boys lead way at state golf

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The defending champion St. Mary’s girls golf team continued its strong play in the postseason and grabbed a sizable lead on the first day of the Class 4A/3A/2A/1A state tournament Monday.

The Crusaders have the Nos. 2, 3 and 6 individual players and got its two best rounds of the year from its fourth and fifth players to shoot a 351 team score at Trysting Tree in Corvallis.

The top four scores count toward the team total, and St. Mary’s will hope for similar results in the second and final round Tuesday.

“We just have to come out tomorrow and do what we did,” said Crusaders coach Kevin Dixon.

St. Mary’s best score of the season was a 348 on the second day of the district tournament last week at Bandon Crossings. The Crusaders’ goal at state was 350.

St. Mary’s has a 21-stroke lead over Heppner/Ione on the par-71 course. Third-place Blanchet Catholic is another 13 shots back. Phoenix is in last place in the nine-team field with a 447.

Leader Trinity McCarthy, of La Grande, built an eight-shot cushion, firing an even-par 71.

St. Mary’s sophomore Kaylee Wu (79) and senior Staesha Flock (81) are next in line, while junior Kamryn Ford (83) is sixth.

The four finishing holes are difficult, particularly the long, par-4 18th, which played into the wind and features a severely tiered green.

“The last hole coming in kind of kicked our butt,” said Dixon, but that was true of most of the field, he said. Each Crusader double-bogeyed it.

“The girls were kind of disappointed with the way they came in, the top three,” he said. “It was pretty tough. The last few holes, you have two 5 pars and two 4 pars that are long. We played much better on the front than the back. But that’s golf. You always think you should be able to play just a little better.”

Junior Christina Owen (108) and freshman Gracie Johnson (109) shot their best rounds. Owen chipped in for a par 4 on the 12th hole.

“That’s what I was really happy with,” said Dixon of Owen’s and Johnson’s play. “(The No. 4 player) counts just as much as the one does. If we get that kind of scoring again, we’ll be pretty tough to beat.”

Wu produced the only birdie of the day for St. Mary’s, making a 2 on the seventh hole en route to a 37 on the front nine.

Phoenix was led by Maricela Alvarado-Powers. The senior is tied for 17th with a 97.

TEAM SCORES: St. Mary’s 351, Heppner/Ione 372, Blanchet Catholic 385, La Grande 387, Oregon Episcopal 393, Valley Catholic 405, Taft 408, Newport 415, Phoenix 447.

INDIVIDUAL SCORES (Top 5): 1, Trinity McCarthy, La Grande, 71; 2, Kaylee Wu, St. Mary’s, 79; 3, Staesha Flock, St. Mary’s, 81; T4, Katie Goodwin, Blanchet Catholic, 82, and Maya Hatton, Taft, 82.

ST. MARY’S (351): 2, Kaylee Wu, 79; 3, Staesha Ford, 81; 6, Kamryn Ford, 83; T33, Christina Owen, 108.

PHOENIX (447): T17, Maricela Alvarado-Powers, 97; T38, Giselle Perez-Hernandez, 110; 44, Isabella Lopez, 118; 46, Willow Tous, 122.

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