The Xavier Prep golf team was looking for a title repeat at last weekend’s prestigious Antigua National High School Invitational, but finished runner-up to Chandler’s Hamilton High School.
While a disappointing loss for the Gators, it also brings up a ghost from the past.
Hamilton won the 2010 Antigua and later that season was crowned Division I state champion, putting to an end a 12-year title reign by Xavier. Prior to that, the last time the Gators had failed to win a state title was 1998.
And they haven’t lost again since that one time when Hamilton stole the show. In fact, the small Catholic high school in central Phoenix has won 33 state titles since 1980.
That state-title victory six years ago ended a long stretch of frustration for the Huskies. They had finished runner-up to Xavier the two years previous and, over the seven years prior to winning the title, they placed second three times and third twice.
But their time at the top of the mountain lasted just one year. Xavier began its new streak in 2011 and will be going after its sixth straight state championship this year.
The Huskies were just an after-thought last year at the Antigua when they finished in eighth place. Xavier won with a score of 601, seven strokes ahead of Hawaii’s Punahou and 17 ahead of third-place Archbishop McCarthy from Florida.
This year, Xavier’s Ashley Menne earned medalist honors on Scottsdale’s McCormick Ranch course, but it was the Huskies who brought home the team title, beating Xavier by 14 strokes. Menne broke out of a three-way tie for the lead after the first round to finish two strokes ahead of teammate Emily Mahar and make a statement as she begins her freshman season.
Hamilton’s squad was led in the scoring by Hannah Li and Jenny Bae, who finished in a tie for fourth place.
On the boys’ side of the event, both of the top spots went to out-of-state schools, with Florida’s King’s Academy shooting even-par for the title and Utah’s Lone Peak posting an 11-over mark for runner-up. Desert Vista High School in Phoenix was the top local finisher, coming in at +15 for third place.
Leading the scoring for Desert Vista were Brian Seo and Tyler Svendon, who finished in seventh place in the individual competition. They were part of a five-way tie for that spot that included another local golfer, Brophy Prep‘s Nate Anderson.
This year’s field included 23 of the top teams from around the country.