TUCSON — With a lineup referred to both internally and by its peers as “stacked,” all signs pointed to Hamilton’s girls golf team being able to bring Xavier’s long state championship run to an end.
But no one could have predicted how overwhelmingly the Huskies did so.
Hamilton won the school’s first-ever girls golf state title in dominating fashion Saturday at Dell Urich Golf Course, finishing the two-day Division I state tournament with a 2-over-par 562 to beat 12-time defending champ Xavier by 22 strokes.
Third place went to Chaparral, which shot 628 to edge Tucson Salpointe by one stroke.
“I thought we’d win, but my guess was probably (by) five or 10,” said Hamilton coach Kevin Krahenbuhl, who along with his players donned eyeblack for the final round. “We really tried to press Xavier and forced them to make mistakes.”
That pressure came in the form of Friday’s stunning first-round tally of 3-under 277, which led to a 14-stroke advantage over Xavier and made Saturday almost a formality.
Spearheading Friday’s performance was junior Kyung Kim, who had no trouble with Dell Urich’s long par-70 format in finishing the first round at 6-under. Kim shot even-par on Saturday to finish at 134 and take the individual medalist honors by six strokes over Xavier junior Sarah Schmelzel.
“Putting really helped me out,” Kim said. “I just hit putts from everywhere.”
Hamilton led Xavier after the first round in 2009, only to lose by eight shots. That experience helped fuel this year’s win, the Huskies’ coach and players said.
“This year we really felt prepared,” Kim said. “We had a stacked team, and we were pretty confident.”
Xavier coach Sister Lynn Winsor seemed almost as gracious and proud of her team’s second-place finish as she did during the Gators’ title streak from 1998-2009.
“Hamilton played lights-out golf and they truly deserved to win it,” Winsor said. “Any other tournament, the scores we had today were good enough to win it. (Hamilton) played outstanding golf; we played good golf.”
Xavier previously had a lengthy girls golf state title steak end. After 16 straight championships, the Gators finished second in both 1996 and 1997 to Horizon, only to see a new run start up again in 1998.
Although Xavier graduates four starters, Winsor eluded to the chance of another streak starting up in 2011.
“We’ll be back next year,” Winsor said.
Individually, Kim and Schmelzel were followed by Hamilton junior Younjin Kim (142) in third place, while Hamilton sophomore Saki Lida and Xavier senior Kaira Martin (last year's ind. champion) tied for fourth at 144.
Southern Arizona schools dominated the two-day event at Silverbell Golf Course, so much so the top two schools also shared the individual title.
Vail Cienega’s Jordan Carter and Laura Jacbczenski of Tucson Catalina Foothills each fired 4-over-par 74s on Saturday to finish tied for first at 145, prompting the duo to pose for post-tournament pictures with both the first-place plaque and the runner-up medal.
Foothills won the team title, firing a two-day score of 646 to beat Cienega by 18 strokes. Notre Dame Prep (678) finished in third place, with Cactus Shadows (683) taking fourth in the 10-team event.
Cactus Shadows placed two individuals in the top five, with Laurie Snyder shooting 157 for fourth place and Kelsey Gilchrist tying for fifth at 161.