Hamilton High School junior Johnny Walker and senior Joy Callinan both shined at the Arizona Interscholastic Association Division I boys’ and girls’ golf championships Tuesday, as both captured individual state titles.
Walker contributed to the Hamilton boys team capturing the team state title at the Catalina Course in Tucson.
“He had a great year all the way through as has our entire team,” Hamilton boys golf coach Steve Kanner said. “This is probably the best overall season we’ve had, and we’ve had some good ones.
“Johnny is a very talented, hard-working player with an unbelievable bright future.”
Walker dominated on the course for Hamilton, placing first with a 136, 10 shots under par and four ahead of both Desert Vista’s Scott Schlader and Sunrise Mountain’s Ben Lorenz, two of the best golfers in the state who tied for second place.
On the girls’ side, Callinan shot 7 under par with a 135 at the two-day event.
She held off Xavier Prep’s Ashley Menne, Red Mountain’s Sydney Bryan and Liberty’s Mattie Frick, who all finished within two strokes off Callinan’s pace, to win the state title.
The Hamilton girls finished third as a team in the tournament after shooting 16 over par. Pinnacle and Xavier Prep finished first and second, respectively.
Walker’s teammate, Mahanth Chirravuri, finished 5 under par, placing fourth in the tournament.
“We were fighting off Brophy and (Johnny) came through for us,” Kanner said. “I thought we would widen the lead a little bit, but they kept coming back. It was almost like a boxing match.”
Hamilton wound up beating Brophy, which finished 10 under par, and Chaparral, which finished 16 over par.
Walker and Chirravuri, along with Anawin Pikulthong (T-12th) and Ethan Adams (T-16th), helped the Huskies claim their first state title since 2014, and the seventh overall in program history.
There will once again be high expectations for Hamilton next season, as the Huskies return eight of 10 golfers from this year’s state title team. For now, however, Kanner and his team will enjoy this season’s state championship.
“I was happy for these guys,” Kanner said. “It’s validation for what they do. They’re all successful junior golfers. They know what it’s like to compete on a big stage.
“But for them to come together as a group and support each other, that’s the best feeling I have.”