BY JIM MISUNAS
HESSTON – Larned’s Dorothy Keenan placed 10th with a career low state score (84) to lead the Indians to a third-place Class 4A state trophy with a score of 362 Monday at Hesston Golf Park.
The left-handed Keenan maintained her poise in blustery conditions with temperatures in the high 80s and wind blowing between 20 and 30 mph. She finished strong on both nines with solid pars after barely missing birdies at Nos. 9 and 18. She converted a clutch bogey putt at No. 17 to save a stroke.
“It was my best state tournament score,” Keenan said. “Hesston was a good course for a state tournament. I was glad to contribute a good score for my team — that’s why we’re here. I am excited our team won a third-place plaque.”
Keenan said the windy conditions were a constant challenge.
“They weren’t the best conditions,” she said. “I clubbed down with the wind, clubbed up into the wind and was careful with my aim on a crosswind. I hit knockdown shots under 100 yards.”
The four-time state qualifier had placed fourth (90), eighth (91) and 41st (106) in prior state golf tournaments.
Larned’s Haley Skelton (88) tied for 15th and Madison Gleason (89) tied for 18th to give the Indians three individual top 20 medalists. Jaicee Walker (101) posted a career low score for the Indians’ fourth-best score. Sierra Smith (106) and Leann Peterson (106) also competed for the Indians.
Larned coach Toni Novotny said her team showed their mental toughness in windy weather. She knew her team had the experience to deal with the wind and poise to handle the six-hour rounds.
“It was pretty tough conditions,” she said. “The girls knew they had to post a good score. They were talking about the next shot and the next hole and did a very good job.”
Larned placed fourth in Class 3-1A last year and moved to Class 4A this season.
“We competed very well and I’m awfully proud of them,” she said. “Class 4A is very difficult with a lot of good golfers competing.”
Coach Novotny was especially proud of Walker’s performance.
“That’s the best round Jaicee Walker has enjoyed in four years,” Novotny said. “When I talked to her, she knew every stroke mattered. She finished with a par and a bogey.”
Wichita Trinity ninth-grader Madison Slayton (79) captured the state title and ninth-grade teammate Hannah Hawks (80) placed runner-up. The Knights (328) captured their first state championship with Topeka Hayden second (354).
Andale’s Morgan Brassler placed third (81) and Hays High’s Katie Brungardt (82) finished fourth.
After nine holes, Wichita Trinity (170) held the lead with Topeka Hayden (177), Larned (180) and Andale (181) battling for the next two trophies.
Hesston Golf Park, par 71
TEAM SCORES—1—Wichita Trinity 328; 2—Topeka Hayden 354; 3—Larned 362; 4—Andale 365; 5—Garnett Anderson Co. 376; 6—KC Piper 379; 7—Goodland 381; 8—Maize South 382; 9—Clay Center 385; 10—Hays High 388; 11—Spring Hill 390; 12—Girard 428
TOP 20 MEDALISTS—1—Madison Slayton, WT, 79 (40-39); 2—Hanna Hawks, WT, 80 (40-40); 3—Morgan Brassler, Andale, 81 (40-41); 4—Katie Brungardt, Hays, 82 (39-43); 5—Maggie Moody, Frontenac, 83 (39-44), won playoff; 6—Katye Vausbinder, Hayden, 83 (43-40), won playoff; 7—Megan Elliott, WT, 83 (39-44), won playoff; 8—Sadie Revell, Winfield, 83 (39-44); 9—Kerrigan Rudolph, Goodland, 84 (41-43), won playoff; 10—Dorothy Keenan, Larned, 84 (42-42)
11—Allie Frederick, Clay Center, 86 (46-40); Kenna Biddle, Winfield, 86 (40-46); Lauren Madison, 86 (42-44); Reagan Lesser, WT, 86 (46-40); 15—Haley Skelton, Larned, 88 (43-45); Jacy Anderson, Andale, 88 (46-42); Sydney Blenden, Hayden, 88 (45-43); 18—Madison Gleason, Larned, 89 (44-45); Gracen Becker, Holcomb, 89 (43-46); Audrey Watson, Maize South, 89 (46-43); Anh-Dao Do, KC Piper, 89 (43-46)
LARNED SCORES—Jaicee Walker, 101 (49-52); Leann Peterson, 106 (55-51); Sierra Smith, 106 (54-52).