The Kansas high school girls state golf tournament is scheduled for Monday at four sites — Class 6A in Andover, Class 5A in Kansas City, Kan., Class 4A in Hays and Class 3-1A in Cheney. Here are five storylines to watch at the state competition.
1. Lancers take aim on a Class 6A title
Shawnee Mission East girls golf coach Ermanno Ritschl has had plenty of talented teams during his time at the helm, but he might have never led a deeper squad than this year’s Lancers. SM East took four of the top five positions on Monday at the Kansas Class 6A Lawrence regional and won by 82 strokes.
Teagan Noblit led the way, shooting a 79 and winning the individual title. Haley Bell and Jessica Parker finished second and third, respectively, and Riley Ricket placed fifth. Although teammates Marti Fromm and Julia Stopperan were just 13 strokes off the lead, neither factored into the team scores despite finising sixth and seventh, respectively.
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The Lancers won their fourth consecutive Sunflower League championship and eighth in 10 years this season.
2. Larson leads the Jaguars
The last time Blue Valley West senior Alex Larson faced SM East, she came out on top with a five-over-par 75 to win the Lawrence Free State Tournament at Lawrence Country Club.
She finished ahead of all of SM East’s scorers at the Lawrence Invitational, as well, which could be a good sign for Blue Valley West as the Jaguars prepare to battle for a Class 6A supremacy on Monday.
Larson led Blue Valley West to Eastern Kansas League and regional team titles. She shot an 84 to win the individual regional title.
3. Spring Hill brings experience
The Broncos, who placed second in the Meriden-Jefferson West regional, will bring some experience to the Class 4A state tournament. Specifically, Spring Hill has five members back from their state qualifying team last year.
Mikaela Crotchet is the top returner. She tied for 63rd place at last year’s state tournament at Dub’s Dread. Teammates Erika Ingold and Lauren Oberkrom tied for 69th place. Chandler Davis and Amber Miller are the team’s other two returnees.
Ingold was Spring Hill’s top regional finisher. She placed third, followed by Miller in fourth place.
4. Individual qualifiers update
The team races at the state tournament will feature some drama, but so will individual competition.
A handful of 913-area players will head to state as the lone qualifier from their school. To make the state tournament, they had to be one of the top five scoring players on a non-qualifying team.
In Class 6A, three fit that description — Shawnee Mission North’s Katlyn Killeen, SM West’s Faith Duensing and Olathe East’s Emily Kaemmer.
In Class 4A, Bishop Miege’s Colleen Zuk will represent the Stags.
5. Thunder has home-course advantage
St. James Academy will have familiarity on their side when the Thunder plays host to the Kansas Class 5A tournament at Dub’s Dread Golf Course in Kansas City, Kan.
The Thunder enter with momentum, after winning the Mill Valley regional with four of the top-10 individual scores. St. James was paced at regionals by Caroline Klemp, Maddie Bruegger, Taylor Duff and Mary Kate Krebs.