FORT WAYNE – Carroll ultimately took the top prize but Annie Butchko and Homestead stole some of the limelight at the NHC girls golf tournament on Saturday.
Playing on their home course at Orchard Ridge, the Spartans won the tournament championship with a 369, while Butchko was the medalist with an 83. But under the NHC’s point system, the Chargers added the overall NHC title to their undefeated dual record.
Carroll finished second with a 376, while East Noble was third with a 382. Carroll was 7-0 in the dual matches and finished with 14 points. Homestead was 4-3 in duals, but had 12 points to finish second. Bellmont (6-1 duals) and East Noble (5-2) each finished with 11 points.
It certainly helps things, Carroll coach Bryan Koehlinger said of having the advantage after the dual matches. They had a little bit more pressure on their shoulders than they would admit going into today. Being the frontrunner, there is certainly some hidden pressure on you, whether you think it is there or not. We will learn from that, and the more successful they are the easier that will become. Their A’ game wasn’t in their bag today. I told them mistakes happen, and we have to minimize the damage as well as we can to save those strokes so we can try to be on top.
Sarah Banister led the Chargers with an 85 to finish in second place individually, and Kierstin Murphy was third with an 88. Bellmont’s Rachel Klingensmith was fourth with an 89, and East Noble’s Alyn Clark was fifth with a 90.
I wanted to post a lower score today, but I am glad we won conference, Banister said. It is (bittersweet) because we did so well this season. But that’s the reason (Koehlinger) always wants to win those (dual matches).
It marks the third straight year that a different team won the top team prize, with East Noble winning last year and Homestead in 2011.
It’s frustrating because you can play better, but it is nice that you win as a team, Murphy said. It is a good team experience.
Butchko and the Spartans used their knowledge of Orchard Ridge’s fast greens and tree-lined fairways to their advantage.
During the season, we had some troubles, Butchko said. We came out today, and we really wanted to play our best so we could kind of redeem ourselves for our matches that we lost.
It is an advantage for us because we are familiar with the green speeds, and they are a lot faster than a lot of the other courses we play. We also know where to place the ball on certain holes.