The excitement slowly brewed for Kapaun Mount Carmel’s girls golf team as it huddled Monday afternoon outside the clubhouse at Consolver Golf Course.
Still, the Crusaders patiently waited for a final piece of evidence to support what they anticipated.
When the score from St. Thomas Aquinas senior Ashley Root was posted, Kapaun had confirmation. The Crusaders’ four-player total of 360 won the Class 5A girls tournament by six shots over Bishop Carroll and 13 over Aquinas, ending a six-year run of dominance by the Overland Park school.
Junior Hannah Perkins finished fourth individually with an 82 and freshman Emma Whitaker was fifth with an 86 for Kapaun, which won its first state girls golf title since 1983.
“We’re really excited that we could break (Aquinas’) streak,” said Perkins, referring to the Saints’ run of titles that began with the 6-5A crown in 2007 followed by 5A championships from 2008 to 2012. “We thought Carroll would be tough competition because they have been all year.
“It felt good to win our last tournament.”
Salina Central senior Alissa Kim earned medalist honors with a 5-over-par 77. Kim was the only golfer to break 80, as ideal weather was offset by Consolver’s 6,100-yard setup and several difficult pin placements.
Maize South junior Laine Evans and Eisenhower junior Makena Mucciaccio were Kim’s closest pursuers with 80s. Evans claimed second place in a one-hole playoff.
“I left a lot out there,” said Evans, a regional and Ark Valley-Chisholm Trail Division II medalist. “I made a couple double bogeys on the front, so it was difficult to get myself back in the game. I just tried to finish the best I could.”
Perkins and Whitaker were Kapaun’s only top-20 finishers. But the duo provided enough of a cushion to fend off Carroll, which was led by junior Alex Lashley’s 88.
Lashley finished ninth individually, while her teammates, Spencer Slane and Abby Sauber, tied for 13th with 90s.
Carroll was the first of the 12 teams to post its 366 total. It held up until Perkins and Whitaker completed Kapaun’s score.
“We’ve come a long way from where we were last year,” Carroll coach Mark Berger said. “That’s the thing we’ve got to keep in mind.
“We’re disappointed we didn’t quite pull it off, especially when it’s just six strokes. We’re going to keep working and keep trying.”
Kapaun got a 41 from Perkins and 42s from Whitaker and junior Hannah Johnston on the front nine to put itself in position to win. But Corey Novascone, the Crusaders’ first-year coach, was concerned after seeing a few of his players struggle early on the back nine.
“I was just trying to talk them through it and make sure they were tough to the finish,” Novascone said. “We let them know every shot counts, and sure enough, every shot did count today.”
The burden was lifted late in the day for Kapaun when Root’s 88 was posted for Aquinas and the Crusaders’ title was secure.
“We’ve been talking about this for so long,” Whitaker said. “Every time we came to practice, we were just talking about our dream of winning, talking about shots and really helping each other in the practice rounds.”
Andover finished fourth at 386. Junior Hayley Meisch shot a 90 to lead the Trojans. Eisenhower shot 401, winning a fifth-score tiebreaker against Topeka Seaman to finish 10th.