DIVISION I-A GOLF: Becker, Crusaders claim crowns

Entering the Division I-A state girls golf tournament, Julia Becker wanted to accomplish something that no one has done at Faith Lutheran: win the state individual title twice.

The senior got her wish at Elko’s Ruby View Golf Course.

Becker shot par 72 on Tuesday and finished at 1-under 143 in the tournament to help Faith Lutheran to its third consecutive Division I-A state title. The Crusaders shot a 697, finishing 13 strokes ahead of Clark. Elko was third with a 757, followed by Lowry (777) and Tech (854).

“It feels pretty nice,” Becker said. “I think I did good because I was able to come back from four bogeys in the middle. It hasn’t really sunk in yet, but it feels really good because this is the end of high school. I kind of did what I needed to do.”

Becker, a Sacramento State commit, became the only golfer in school history, boys included, to win back-to-back individual state titles.

“I think she played great,” Crusaders coach Mark Cheney said. “She had a stretch in the middle of the round with four consecutive bogeys, but she really showed her resiliency and bounced back from that. To post 1 under for a state tournament is a testament to her ability and determination.”

Freshman Sydney Smith could be next in line at Faith Lutheran. Smith, the only golfer besides Becker to shoot par in a round in the two-day tournament, finished second with a 148.

“Sydney really played beyond her years,” Cheney said. “She plays with a lot of maturity, and a lot of people don’t realize she’s a freshman. She played terrific, and we needed both her and Sydney to score well, and they came through.”

Olivia Vogel was 14th with a 194 for the Crusaders, who led Clark by four strokes after the first day. Faith Lutheran shot a 343 on Tuesday, but Clark carded a 362.

“It was definitely a challenge, and Clark pushed us,” Cheney said. “I told them I was just really proud of their effort. They struggled a little bit, but they didn’t quit and they finished off the round.”

Elko’s Kaily Beatty finished third with a 156, and Fernley’s Brittany Evans was fourth at 158. Clark had the next two finishers in Grace Kang and Cassandra Ho. Kang shot a 160, and Ho finished at 166.

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