There are more than 200 high schools across Arizona with girls’ golf programs. But much of the talent rests within a small handful of those programs.
And it seems like it’s been that way for a long time.
This season’s selection of an All-Arizona girls golf team helps make that point. Just five schools are represented on the 12-player roster, as assembled annually by The Arizona Republic. The same five teams that always seem to be in contention for the titles.
Ironwood Ridge High School in Oro Valley gobbled up three spots on the team. The Tucson-area school, which won the Division II state team title the last two years, placed Zoe Newell and sisters Raina and Hannah Ports on the squad. The trio tied for second place in the D-II individual competition at state.
The Nighthawks will likely be the team to beat again next year since all three will return in 2021.
Pinnacle High School, Xavier Prep, and Cactus Shadows HS all placed two golfers each on the All-Arizona team: Katie Stinchcomb and Carolyn Fuller (Pinnacle), Kate Hauptman and Ivy Song (Xavier), and Calynne Rosholt and Kylee Loewe (Cactus Shadows).
Rosholt wrapped up her senior season at the Cave Creek school by winning the D-II individual state title to help the Nighthawks to a runner-up team finish.
Xavier had just two seniors on this years’ team. Song is a junior and Hauptman is a freshman. But those two were the driving force that led the Gators to this years’ D-I team title, with Hauptman leading the team by carding a 152 total, followed by Song’s 154.
Liberty High School had just one player on the All-Arizona team, but that lone representative was this year’s D-I individual state champion, Mattie Frick, who became the school’s first male or female golfer to win a state title.
Rounding out the 12-player roster were Jennifer Seo, a sophomore from Chandler’s Hamilton HS, and Bailee Tayles, a senior from Notre Dame Prep in Scottsdale. Seo came up just one stroke short of winning the D-II individual title that Frick took home. Tayles finished the season undefeated in dual-match play and earned medalist honors five times.
The results this season are a mirror-image of what has been happening for years, as the state championships have become a rather exclusive party for a select few schools, all of which are listed above.
In Division I, Xavier has won eight of the last 10 team titles, and Pinnacle (2019) and Hamilton (2010) picked up the other two. Both Pinnacle and Hamilton have been runner-up four times each during that period.
How dominant has Xavier been through the years? The small Catholic school in central Phoenix has won 36 state titles. The last time the Gators failed to win consecutive state titles was 23 years ago.
In D-II play, Cactus Shadows was state champion for three straight years, 2016 through 2018, and then the Falcons were dethroned by Ironwood Ridge, which has won the last two.
Pinnacle took home one other honor this season. The Pioneers’ head coach, Charlie Wilde, was named the Coach of the Year after leading the team to a runner-up finish at state and preseason honors by winning the High School Golf National Invitational in August.
But, as it turned out, not even a national champion was enough to keep Xavier from yet another title.