The Crusaders would like to stay there.
St. Mary’s captured its second straight Class 4A/3A/2A/1A state championship Tuesday at Trysting Tree Golf Club in Corvallis, placing three individuals in the top eight and cruising to a 34-stroke victory.
“The girls the last two years have worked really hard to come together and we’ve kind of got a good thing going right now,” said second-year head coach Kevin Dixon. “They’ll continue to work on their games this summer, and we’ll take next year and see if we can keep it rolling.”
The Crusaders, who have only one senior in Staesha Flock, had a team score of 355 despite miserable conditions early in the day. Their 706 two-day total provided a comfortable margin over runner-up Heppner/Ione, which shot 740.
“It feels really good,” said Flock of a repeat. “We worked really hard this year to defend the title, and we were really happy when we came in and saw that we won again.”
Phoenix, the other local entrant, was ninth out of as many teams, scoring 923.
La Grande’s Trinity McCarthy followed an opening-round 71 with a 4-over 75 to earn medalist honors by nine shots over St. Mary’s Kaylee Wu.
Wu is the sophomore sister of three graduated brothers — Dylan, Josh and Jeremy — who each won state titles for the Crusaders and helped the boys program to four straight championships.
Wu edged teammate Flock by one stroke to place second. The former shot 76 for a 155, and third-place Flock turned in a 75 for a 156. Junior Kamryn Ford, last year’s state champ, was eighth with a 171 after a final-round 88.
Josie Wang turned in the fourth and final counting score, a 116. She did not play on Monday.
The championship is the third overall for St. Mary’s. It won its first in 2009.
“It feels really good,” said Dixon. “We were struggling a little bit to try and find our fourth. We always had three strong girls, and the 4, 5 and 6 girls stepped up and all played really well at districts and state.”
Christina Owen accounted for the No. 4 score on Monday, when Gracie Johnson was the team’s No. 5 player.
St. Mary’s goal for the second day in a row was to shoot 350. The weather did its best not to cooperate.
“The conditions were pretty tough,” said Dixon. “It was really windy and the rain was coming down sideways. At one point they were telling parents to be careful around some of the trees. Carts were being blown over, umbrellas were being blown inside out.”
Anyone, he added, in the 70s had a good score.
Wu and Flock were two of the four, and each played impeccably down the stretch, parring in from the 12th hole.
Wu managed a greenside sand save at the 18th to nip Flock. Wu’s par putt was about 8 feet and hung on the edge before falling.
“Kaylee’s got the game to be one of the better players,” said Dixon. “Just her focus; she didn’t have any big numbers today.”
Wu and Flock were in different groups and didn’t know how they stood with one another.
Flock, who will next play at Concordia University in Portland, was as steady as they come, making seven pars and two bogeys on each nine.
“She hit the ball great all weekend,” said Dixon, adding that a balky putter Monday held her back a bit Monday. “She played real consistently. She was just wonderful to coach. She played really well this year and was probably our best all-around golfer.”
The Crusaders were fairly comfortable with a 21-shot lead after Day 1, said Flock.
“Going in, we were pretty confident,” she said. “We knew if we posted everyone’s average score, we would pretty much have it in the bag.”
She praised the play of Owen, Wang and Johnson and noted their improvement over the season.
For Phoenix, Maricela Alvarado-Powers led the way with a 99 and a two-day total of 196. She tied for 19th place.
TEAM SCORES: St. Mary’s 351-355—706, Heppner/Ione 372-368—740, Oregon Episcopal 393-374—767, Blanchet Catholic 385-395—780, La Grande 387-419—806, Valley Catholic 405-403—808, Taft 408-413—821, Newport 415-424—839, Phoenix 447-476—923.
INDIVIDUAL SCORES (Top 5): 1, Trinity McCarthy, La Grande, 71-75—146; 2, Kaylee Wu, St. Mary’s, 79-76—155; 3, Staesha Flock, St. Mary’s, 81-75—156; 4, Tori Suto, Wallowa/Joseph, 84-77—161; 5, Katie Goodwin, Blanchet Catholic, 82-82—164.
ST. MARY’S (706): 2, Kaylee Wu, 79-76—155; 3, Staesha Ford, 81-75—156; 8, Kamryn Ford, 83-88—171; NA, Christina Owen/Josie Wang, 108-116—224.