The streak stayed alive and a new state record was born at the 5A Division I girls golf state championship Tuesday at Aguila Golf Course in Laveen.
It required a mini-comeback - something Phoenix Xavier has never had to do at the state tournament in Sister Lynn Winsor's 36 years as Gators golf coach - but thanks to a second consecutive round of her life from Kaira Martin and a huge scoring boost from Cassidy Sanchez, the Gators won their 12th consecutive state title with a team score of 571.
This time, however, it was undoubtedly the closest. Chandler Hamilton's one-shot lead after the first round disappeared, but the Huskies finished second by only eight strokes, the closest anyone has come to Xavier since 1980. The pressure was palpable even though Xavier's total was the second-lowest team score in 5A girls golf state tournament history, one shot behind the 2006 squad.
Even Winsor called it "the most pressure-filled tournament I've been a part of."
The Huskies took second place for a third consecutive season with a 579. Both Tucson Salpointe (661) and Chandler Basha (703) took double-digit totals off their scores on the second day to finish third and fourth, respectively.
Tempe Corona del Sol took fifth (717), followed by a second-day surge of 17 shots from Phoenix Mountain Pointe (721), then Phoenix Desert Vista (731) and Gilbert Highland (733).
Martin, a junior, birdied five holes on the front nine for a low-round 66 to go with Monday's 67. Her total of 133 broke the Class 5A record previously set by former Gator Amanda Blumenherst in 2003.
Blumenherst spoke to the team about confidence and playing under pressure two weeks ago, after the Gators set a national record with 145 consecutive match-play victories, but apparently she didn't speak about individual records.
"I tried to do the same things as the day before," Martin said. "We were prepared and focused, and it was going to be whoever had the better day. "... I didn't know (the record) going in, but I do now. I'm glad to be around and part of that same level of talent."
Hamilton's Saki Iida took second place individually with a 142. Xavier's Sarah Schmelzel and Hamilton's Kyung Kim tied for third (143), but the teetering swung in Xavier's favor when Cassidy Sanchez shot 74 (eight strokes better than her first round) and Daffodil Sanchez shaved off five strokes with a second-day 70.
Gilbert Highland's duo of Shelby Phillips (147) and Alex Schendelman (152) both finished in the top ten, as did Corona's Dana Finkelstein.
Hamilton flew out of the gate entering Tuesday's finale, as the Gators admitted to being nervous for their first round. Though the Huskies couldn't quite match their lofty first-day total, a 35-shot improvement from their 2008 total won't be forgotten on a team full of freshmen, sophomores and juniors.
"We would have liked to take another step forward, but we played really well," Huskies coach Kevin Krahenbuhl said. "If somebody comes out and beats you like (Xavier) did, you go tip your hat to them."
The Gators' angst disappeared quickly. Music was banned on the team's mini-bus before matches when Sister Lynn heard a few questionable lyrics early this season, but it was reinstated for the final round of the state tournament, and the players took advantage during Tuesday's ride to the course.
The next ride will be to begin its quest for a baker's dozen.
"No distractions," Martin said. "We'll try and get 13."
Similar to the boys team, the Scottsdale Chaparral girls had no trouble making the leap to 5A-II state tournament competition.
The Firebirds used a second-day 307 to roll to a 625 total and the state championship by 51 shots over Scottsdale Desert Mountain.
Tempe Marcos de Niza, last year's 5A-II winner, was third with 688, followed by Marana Mountain View and Peoria Centennial.
Jaquie LeMarr led the way for Chaparral by winning the individual championship with a two-day total of 147, one shot better than 2008 champion Shelby Martinek from Marcos de Niza.
Martinek's teammate, Clarissa Collins, came in third with a 155, followed by Scottsdale Horizon's Nicole Jones and Sara Callagy (Anthem Boulder Creek), who each shot a 156.
Led by individual champion Jackie Chang, five Notre Dame golfers finished in the top 10 as the Saints shot a 619 to cruise to the state championship Tuesday at Maryvale Golf Course.
Chang (141), Samantha Postillion (146), Kathlin Ardell (162), Anna Kathryn Hughes (170) and Elizabeth Crowell (178) finished first, second, fourth, sixth, and seventh, respectively.
The biggest surprise of the tournament, however, was the fact that Higley, qualifying as a team for the first time, finished second by shooting a 774. Aubri McKee (163) and Mailin Mathisen (180) recorded fifth- and eighth-place finishes to lead the Knights. They were the only two players on the team with varsity golf experience entering the season.
Cactus Shadows' Lindsey Weaver shot a 71 Tuesday, but it wasn't enough to stop Catalina Foothills' Laura Jabczenski from winning the 4A-I girls individual title by one stroke at the Randolph Park Golf Complex in Tucson.
As a team, Catalina Foothills also won a close one, shooting a 640 to slip past Cienega by two strokes.
Weaver was tied with Jabczenski at 72 entering play Tuesday. Cienega's Sun Park finished third with a 145.