“Who’s there?’’ asked the Xavier Prep golfers on Monday night (Oct. 29) at their hotel rooms after the first round of the Division I state tournament at the Omni Tucson National courses.
“It’s Tui. Time for bed check,’’ said co-head coach Tui Selvaratnam, sounding much like a pro football team official keeping an eye on players during the annual training camp.
The door opened, and from behind coach Tui came this . . . thing.
The figure was dressed all in black and had a mask pulled over the head.
“It was a skeleton, only worse,’’ said co-head coach Sr. Lynn Winsor.
She should know. She was the one wearing the get-up. She stages the fright night every so often around Halloween, but not every year. After all, you have to keep it fresh, not let them know when or if it might be coming.
“It is good for team bonding,’’ Winsor said. “We also wore our Halloween socks.’’
After catching their breath, the girls showed their scary side in the tournament’s final day on Tuesday (Oct. 30).
Scary that the Gators are so good.
They played in rarified air, particularly in the second round, as all five participants combined to finish in the top 10 and lifted XCP to an incredible 33-shot lead over second-place Phoenix Pinnacle.
Xavier finished the tournament on the Catalina and Sonoran courses with a total of 588, 12 over par. It was the school’s 36th golf crown and eighth in a row.
Leading the way was junior Ashley Menne, who took a 2-shot advantage over Scottsdale Chaparral’s Grace Summerhays to win her third straight individual title. Only two other golfers have done so – Grace Park, who played at Xavier and Phoenix Horizon, and the late Xavier great, Heather Farr.
Menne had to have a strong effort on the back nine as she dueled Summerhays and Peoria Liberty freshman Madison Frick most of the day. Menne shot a 3-under-par 70 on the Catalina on Monday and an even-par 71 on the Sonoran on Tuesday for a final tally of 3-under 141.
In the final round, Menne double-bogeyed her first hole and bogeyed two other holes on the front nine. But she also birdied two holes and added two more on the 11th and 12th holes to remain in contention.
“She did great. It is very rare for someone to do,’’ said Winsor, also XCP’s athletic director.
The other four Gators on the leaderboard were junior Breyana Matthews, tied for third at 145, sophomore Lauren Garcia, tied for eighth at 152, and freshman Ivy Song and sophomore Bailee Tayles, tied for 10th at 153.
“We looked at the golfers we had coming into this season and thought we would have a strong team,’’ Winsor said. “And that’s just how they played. I think it has been one of the strongest we have had at the school.
“Coach Tui and I could not be more proud of the girls. Playing in the state tournament is always pressurized, and they came in and played true Gator golf.’’
Those members of the team who did not play in the tournament were allowed to participate in the festivities surrounding the event, such as staying overnight and supporting those who were playing.
Winsor and Selvaratnam will have a deep roster again next year, particularly since none of this year’s state tournament players are seniors.
“We are right in line to keep this thing going,’’ Winsor said.