It was 23 years ago that Xavier Prep, the dominant high school girls team in Arizona, went two consecutive years without winning a state title. Scottsdale’s Horizon High School took that honor in 1996 and 1997.
Horizon is one of only three schools that have managed to keep Xavier from a championship win over the last 39 years. Hamilton High won the title in 2010 and Pinnacle High School had its turn last season.
Xavier pocketed the other 36 state titles, an absolute dominance of the sport.
That’s why it was so hard to believe that Pinnacle had a good chance to become just the second team – other than Xavier -in almost 40 years to bring home back-to-back state titles.
After all, the Pioneers had run away from Xavier to win last year’s state title by 16 strokes and were returning three players that finished in the top 10 at state. The Pinnacle girls’ program has been steadily growing into a force to be reckoned with, taking third at state in 2017 and second in 2018. The Pioneers were on a roll.
And this season the north Phoenix school displayed its strength early by winning the High School Golf National Invitation tournament in August, and last week finished ahead of a 19-team field at the Aguila State Preview tournament. Xavier finished in fourth place.
So it’s easy to understand why Pinnacle was favored to pull off the title repeat.
But Xavier, which had just two seniors on this year’s squad, had other ideas.
The all-girls Catholic school in central Phoenix wasted no time in establishing their intent to win back the Division I crown. They took a six-stroke lead after the opening round and finished the two-day state tournament with a team total 626, finishing three strokes ahead of runner-up Pinnacle to clinch their 37th AIA Division I state championship since 1970. (The Gators’ title run began in 1980.)
Kate Hauptman led the Gator attack, carding a 152 total, followed by Ivy Song (154), Jayden Jevnick (159), Lauren Garcia (161), and Annie Dawson (175).
Hamilton, which had six seniors on its eight-person team, carded a 656 for third place. Fourth place went to Boulder Creek HS (674) and Liberty HS finished in fifth (680).
Liberty junior Mattie Frick (151) was crowned the individual champion., while Hamilton’s Jennifer Seo was runner-up, followed by Xavier’s Hauptman.
Hauptman turned out to be Xavier’s secret weapon. The freshman was the team’s No. 6 golfer until the final match of the regular season; Ivy Song was Xavier’s top golfer.