Lady Pan­thers fin­ish sec­ond

Fin­ish is high­est in school his­tory

Siloam Springs Herald Leader - - SPORTS - By Neal Den­ton Spe­cial to Siloam Sun­day

MOUN­TAIN HOME — Led by in­di­vid­ual medal­ist Syd­nie Gam­ble’s 1-over-par 145, the Green­wood Lady Bull­dogs ran to the Class 6A State Girls golf cham­pi­onship Tues­day, de­feat­ing the Siloam Springs Lady Pan­thers by 21 strokes at Big Creek Golf & Coun­try Club.

Siloam Springs se­nior Brinkley Beever shot 157 (81-76) for sec­ond place in­di­vid­u­ally, and Moun­tain Home’s Ken­zie Collins shot 170 (82-88) to round out the top three ad­vanc­ing to the Over­all State Tour­na­ment at Pleas­ant Val­ley in Lit­tle Rock, which will be held on Oct. 12.

Siloam Springs coach Michael Robert­son was pleased with his team’s state run­ner-up fin­ish — the high­est for the girls pro­gram in school his­tory.

“Our girls came over to win,” he said. “That was the ex­pec­ta­tion and what they hoped for. I’m real proud of them. We’ve

been real close to this sev­eral times now, and sec­ond is ac­tu­ally the best we’ve ever done. Hats off to Green­wood. We’ve had some bat­tles with them the past cou­ple years. For the sea­son, we were one stroke dif­fer­ent. We felt com­ing into to­day we had a good shot, but they played re­ally well to­day. They had been in pres­sure sit­u­a­tions a few times, and they played like it.”

Gam­ble fol­lowed her first-round 73 with an even-par 72 on Tues­day, while team­mates Jor­dyn Lane and Ella Austin shot 183 and 199, re­spec­tively, over 36 holes. Austin shot 94 af­ter card­ing a 105 on Mon­day.

“I ac­tu­ally told ev­ery­body af­ter the round yes­ter­day that we were done talk­ing about golf,” Gam­ble said. “We didn’t have a very big lead, so I didn’t want us to stress over it. We de­cided to have fun and wait to think about golf the next day. Be­fore we teed off, I wrote Ella a note and it said ‘good thoughts lead to good shots.’ She said that’s what re­ally helped her con­fi­dence and kept her pos­i­tive through­out the round to­day.”

Gam­ble also was the state medal­ist her fresh­man sea­son, but placed sec­ond be­hind Jones­boro’s

Mary Claire Mered­ith the past two sea­sons.

Green­wood’s lead over sec­ond-place Siloam Springs was only four strokes af­ter the first day, but the Lady Bull­dogs ended up fin­ish­ing 21 strokes (527-548) ahead of the Lady Pan­thers. The host Moun­tain Home team was third at 575, Searcy was fourth at 583, while Ben­ton took fifth at 646.

The top eight in­di­vid­u­als were named all-state. Moun­tain Home’s Syd­ney Czanstkowski shot 173

(85-88) for fourth, while Green­wood’s Lane was fifth at 183, Siloam Springs ju­nior Kait­lyn Robin­son and Searcy’s Lau­ren Bowles were tied for sixth at 189, and Searcy’s Ellen Grace Adams was eighth at 191.

Also for the Lady Pan­thers, ju­nior McKen­zie Blan­chard added a 210 (105-105) and ju­nior Jaelee Sny­der fired a 213 (101112). Siloam Springs ju­nior Kendall McCormick shot 130 on the first day, and Makenna Thomas placed in the fifth spot on the sec­ond day and shot a 101.

“Re­ally proud of our girls,” Robert­son said. “Ob­vi­ously they came over to win it all. Thats what they worked hard for and that was their goal. And so no doubt they are dis­ap­pointed that we came up a lit­tle short but as I told them, do not lose sight of how big what they ac­com­plished is. They did some­thing that no other girls golf team has been able to do and no­body can take that from them.”

The Lady Pan­thers will lose their se­nior Beever, but not be­fore she plays in the over­all for the sec­ond time.

“Look­ing for­ward to see­ing Brinkley com­pete on Oct. 12 at the Over­all Cham­pi­onship,” Robert­son said. “It is a great event with su­per-tal­ented kids. It is a col­lege-level event and such an honor. She will be the first girl we have had to qual­ify twice. She is play­ing well right now and I ex­pect her to have a great show­ing.

“As I have said when all of our great play­ers have moved on…its hard to re­place them. Brinkley will be missed. She led by ex­am­ple, al­ways here, al­ways work­ing hard and it car­ried over to the course. She will leave as our most dec­o­rated girls player ever.”

The rest of the Lady Pan­thers all re­turn for an­other sea­son.

“Look­ing ahead there is a lot to be ex­cited about,” Robert­son said. “I re­ally like the group we have re­turn­ing. They will prob­a­bly be one of the most ex­pe­ri­enced groups we have had re­turn­ing. Kait­lyn showed on day one what she is ca­pa­ble of and I ex­pect her to only get bet­ter. McKen­zie has been a great player for us since she came in as a fresh­man. She had some great rounds this sea­son and I ex­pect her to make a jump next sea­son. Re­ally proud of Jaelee. She had one of the big­gest sin­gle­sea­son im­prove­ments we have ever had and played great for us down the stretch. Kendall is go­ing to work hard this off-sea­son and will be an­other one we will count on next sea­son. Makenna gained great ex­pe­ri­ence this sea­son. She showed on day two that she has a lot of nat­u­ral abil­ity and can be a great high school player. We also have some younger girls who are work­ing hard to be con­trib­u­tors next sea­son.”

Neal Den­ton/Spe­cial to Siloam Sun­day

The Siloam Springs girls golf team fin­ished as state run­ner-up Tues­day at the Class 6A state girls golf tour­na­ment at Big Creek Golf and Coun­try Club in Moun­tain Home. It’s the high­est the Lady Pan­thers have ever fin­ished in a state golf tour­na­ment. Pic­tured, from left, are team mem­bers ju­nior Jaelee Sny­der, ju­nior Kendall McCormick, ju­nior McKen­zie Blan­chard, se­nior Brinkley Beever, fresh­man Makenna Thomas and ju­nior Kait­lyn Robin­son.

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