BOWLING GREEN, Ky.
It was a week of redemption — and repetition — for the Sacred Heart Academy golf team.
Behind the solid play of sophomore Maddie Hamilton and senior Katie Page, the Valkyries avenged their only loss of the season to a Kentucky squad and captured their second straight championship Wednesday at the Leachman Buick-GMC-Cadillac/KHSAA State Tournament at Bowling Green Country Club.
“It’s not like anyone did anything spectacular, but we all played our games and came out with a win,” Page said. “It’s always good when you’re looking around and your teammates are giving you a thumbs-up from the fairway.”
Sacred Heart finished with a two-day score of 636, 22 shots better than runner-up Calloway County. Henry Clay (668) was third, followed by Green County (675) and Shelby County (687).
The Valkyries, who now have a record seven state titles, were clear-cut favorites to repeat but were humbled a bit when Calloway County beat them by four shots in the Bunny Daugherty Invitational on Sept. 15.
Coach Leslie Bender said the loss turned out to be a good thing .
“With some of the margins we were winning by, everyone started talking and acting like, ‘There’s no way you can lose,’ ” she said. “It’s easy to get lax and sit back and think you don’t have to work at it. Seeing there were other good teams working hard showed we had to keep working until the very end.”
Calloway County sophomore Anna Hack took individual honors with a 2-under-par 142, carding a 74 after a 68 Tuesday.
Hack, a transfer from Lone Oak playing in her fifth state tourney, won all seven events in which she played this season. She said she was thrilled to follow role model Emma Talley, a Caldwell County product who won state titles in 2008, ’10 and ’11 and now is a freshman at Alabama.
“She just taught me that if you practice hard enough, you can succeed,” Hack said. “Watching her and how hard she practiced made me want to practice hard.”
North Hardin senior Lydia Gumm finished second at 146, with Hamilton and Pulaski County sophomore Elsa Moberly tying for third at 149.
Hack was 3 over through 12 holes but birdied Nos. 13 and 14. She followed with bogeys on 15 and 16 but closed with a flourish, knocking her approach within two feet and making birdie on the par-5 18th.
“I was just ready to be done,” said Hack, whose grandfather Jack Haskins is the football coach at Lone Oak. “So I wanted to hit it close.”
Gumm had pulled within one stroke of Hack on the back nine, but a double bogey on the par-4 15th ended her run at an elusive state title. She played in the tournament every year since she was a third-grader and finished among the top four six times but never won it.
“I’m very proud of the things I accomplished, but I wanted State more than anything,” said Gumm, who will graduate from North Hardin in December and enroll at Florida State in January. “I worked all my life for it and just never got it. Maybe it wasn’t meant to be.”
It was meant to be for Sacred Heart. Page, who has committed to Southern Methodist, tied for 14th at 157. Rounding out the Valkyries’ five were sophomore Meredith Moir (tied for 28th at 163), junior Rachel Gathof (39th, 169) and senior Gabrielle Miller (tied for 44th, 172).