SPARKS — A hollow victory isn’t something that happens often in sports, but if ever there was one, Faith Lutheran experienced it Tuesday winning the Division I-A state championship.
Playing the same course, the Crusaders beat Division I state champion Spanish Springs by 62 strokes, 624-686, yet Faith Lutheran claims a smaller reward.
“Any time you win a state championship, you have to be excited, but our standard of excellence is pretty high, and these girls are disappointed when they don’t meet that standard,” Faith Lutheran coach Mark Cheney said.
The Crusaders couldn’t match their opening-round 298, but Tuesday’s 326 was better than any round from schools in the Division I tournament.
Faith Lutheran ran away with things in Division I-A, beating second-place Elko by 167 strokes. Clark was third at 808.
“I think our girls were disappointed in how we played today, but it has to be balanced with the fact that the windy conditions were tough,” Cheney said.
Faith Lutheran couldn’t catch Class 4A champion Green Valley the last three seasons before realignment put the schools in different divisions. The team’s seniors were happy to get redemption this season, however unofficial it may be.
“We were thrilled that we got to compete on the same course during the same championship so that there could be a direct comparison between the Division I schools and us,” Cheney said. “We’ve been competing with them for three years and came up short in second place every time, so we were excited to have this opportunity to show that we still measure up with the Division I schools.”
The Crusaders took the top individual spots, led by senior Brianna Becker, who shot 1-over-par 73 Tuesday to finish at 141. Senior Annie Freman stumbled with a 79, but was second at 148. Sophomore Julia Becker was third at 161.
“I’m happy that I finally came out with a state win, because during my first three years I struggled really hard at state; but now that I can actually say I’ve won one, it’s really nice,” Brianna Becker said.
Boulder City’s Jordyn Syler shot 171 and took fourth on a scorecard playoff over Virgin Valley’s Randi Lewis. Faith Lutheran’s Sarah Paravia was sixth at 175.
Lowry coach Andrew Meyer, whose team was fourth at 820, said no team thought about catching Faith Lutheran.
“We knew Faith Lutheran had it in the bag for the I-A, so we were coming out trying to compete for that second place spot with Elko and Clark; but with the score we put up during the final round, we didn’t really have a chance. Faith Lutheran deserves to be in a league all their own, but it’s good for competition, and it’s good for our kids in our little Northern league to see those scores and see that’s what they need to be doing if they want to pursue collegiate golfing.”