Last year, Ashley Menne earned medalist honors as a freshman at the Division I state golf championships. But she had to share the honor.
This year the individual state title went again to the sophomore at Xavier Prep. But she didn’t have to share it with anyone.
Menne carded a 2-under 70 in the first round of last year’s championships, as did teammate Elizabeth Caldarelli and Hannah Li from Hamilton High. And, thanks to a strong desert storm that caused the cancellation of the second round, those first-round scores had to be used as the final 2016 scores. Thus, a three-way tie.
It was only the second time in the history of the state tournament, going back 29 years, that weather stopped play and reverted back to the 18-hole scores of the first day. The Gators won the trophy by two strokes, but that was very misleading. When play was stopped on the second day after two weather delays at the Aguila Golf Course in Laveen, Xavier was ahead of runner-up Hamilton High by 16 strokes.
This year, Xavier cruised to a nine-stroke team victory ahead of runner-up Hamilton, finishing the two-day event at the OMNI Tucson National with a 15-over total of 591.
Menne shot an even better score, a 69, in this year’s first round, putting it together with a 71 on the second day for a 4-under 140 total. Michelle Nguyen, a senior from Sandra Day O’Connor High School, finished second, just two strokes back, and Hamilton’s Jenny Bae was a stroke behind Nguyen to take third place.
On the boys’ side, it was Gabriel Salvanera who brought the individual title home to Queen Creek High School, breaking out of a three-way tie after the first round and shooting a total 137 to finish just one stroke ahead of runner-up Tony Hendricks from Brophy Prep. Third place went to Mason Domecq from Chaparral High School and Scott Schadler from Desert Vista High, both of whom shot a 4-under 139.
Brophy was also the runner-up for the team championship, finishing one stroke behind Chaparral, which carded a 2-over 574 for the team win.
Although Chaparral now owns seven boys’ team golf titles, this is the first for the Scottsdale school in eight years — which is just about how long the Hamilton girls’ program has been chasing Xavier since last winning the D-I championship back in 2010, making the Huskies the last team to beat Xavier for the title.
Xavier has dominated the high school game for decades, winning 35 titles since 1980. The small Catholic school in mid-town Phoenix had won 12 titles in a row when Hamilton managed to break their reign. But Xavier took it back in 2011 and has not relinquished it since.
In the meantime, Hamilton’s frustration continues to grow. The Huskies have finished runner-up for the girls’ team title the last two years.