HIGH SCHOOL golf
The best golf in Southern Arizona can be found under one roof.
Catalina Foothills swept the Class 4A-I state tournament last week, winning individual and team crowns in the boys and girls competitions. The Falcons were the only squad in the area to come away with any golf titles this year - and they got them all.
Here's a look at the Falcons' top golfers:
BOYS: Billy Flower. He capped a career of steady improvement with a gratifying state championship in his senior year. He shaved 10 strokes off his score each year between his freshman and junior seasons and cut two more this year to win the individual title. Flower carded a 2-under 70 on the first day and a 2-over 74 the next at Randolph North to lead the Falcons to team glory.
GIRLS: Laura Jabczenski. In just one year, Jabczenski went from being the fourth-best golfer on her team to her conference's top golfer for the entire state. After shooting a two-day score of 153 at state last season, she lowered that number to 142 this year, as a junior, on the same course. Jabczenski eclipsed the scores of teammates Erin McClure and Brittany McKee, after finishing behind them a year ago.
BOYS: Foothills. The Falcons won their first boys state title, and they did it with tremendous depth. Foothills put all five of its golfers in the top 17, even though only the top four scores are used in the team total. Flower, Dylan Kornberg, Andrew Gunn, Alec Berens and Christian Muscarello were separated by just 10 strokes over the two days. (Flower won with a 144; Muscarello was 17th with a 154.) Consistency was also a key. Spanning both days, the Falcons did not shoot a single round over 78.
"They've worked really hard to make the changes over time since their freshman year," said Julie Walters, who's coached Foothills for seven years. "For it finally to come to fruition is really fulfilling for them."
GIRLS: Foothills. The Falcons won their third girls state title in seven years, but their first since 2006. And it wasn't as easy as it should have been. Foothills had to overcome a disqualification on Day 2 because of a scorecard mishap, and still found a way to win by two strokes over Cienega. Jabczenski and McClure led the Falcons after McKee's second-round score was dropped. Grace Tooley and Shireen Singh turned out to be the difference makers. The two finished 14th and 20th, respectively, to give the Falcons the extra push they needed after the DQ.
17 The number of strokes that separated first-place Scottsdale Chaparral from fifth place Ironwood Ridge at the 5A-II boys state tournament. In the most competitive division in the state, 14 teams were separated by just 75 strokes over two days.
4 Foothills became only the fourth team from Southern Arizona to win a girls state championship in golf. Santa Rita won a 5A title in 1970, and Foothills has won two other 4A-I titles this decade.
31The lowest nine-hole score of the season, shot twice by Tucson's Derek Laporte. The senior was 5 under at The Pines and at SaddleBrooke Ranch before finishing two strokes off an individual 5A-I crown at the state tournament.
• Santa Rita senior Amanda Kim was the best 4A-II golfer in Southern Arizona this season and capped her high school career with a third-place finish at state. She held season nine-hole lows at three local golf courses before carding an 80 and a 78 to close out the year.
• Cienega's Sun Park closed out her season as the best golfer, statistically at least, in Southern Arizona with the lowest round of the 4A-I state tournament. She shot a 75 on Day 1 at Dell Urich, but came back with a second-round 69 to end her high school career on a positive note.
"Knowing that our team got eighth place my freshman year, fifth place my sophomore year, fourth place last year, and second this year - with a trophy - I am satisfied and I feel like I had a tremendous experience playing high school golf."
• Marana's Colby Robbins and Canyon del Oro's Bubba Metz each capped superb seasons with nice showings at the state tournament. Robbins shot a second-round 4-under 68 to finish one stroke behind the leaders, while Metz shot a 70 on the second day to finish two strokes away from a title.