Xavier senior Sarah Schmelzel had divided loyalties.
Finishing second in the state golf championship a year ago, Schmelzel clearly had her sights on the individual state crown this time, but also wanted a team title. Given the tradition and history of the girls golf program at Xavier, each goal was certainly worthy, and within reach.
By the end of the day, Schmelzel managed to achieve both awards. She captured the Division I state individual championship with a two-day score of 137, and helped Xavier edge Hamilton, 587-591, to take the Division I team title at Aguila Golf Course in Laveen.
Pinnacle was third (671), Chaparral finished fifth (680), Desert Vista was sixth (701), Horizon placed seventh (703), Dobson was ninth (731), and Mountain Pointe placed 10th (750).
In a head-to-head battle with Hamilton's Kyung Kim, last year's individual winner, Schmeilzel utilized a strong back nine and shot a 66, the fourth-best round ever recorded at the state championship level. Add the 71 she shot in Friday's opening round and the title was hers.
"The key was making putts," Schmelzel said, who is heading to the University of South Carolina on a golf scholarship. "Kim is such a great player, and I knew she was right up there. I thought the key hole was the later in the match. I birdied No. 10, and once that happened, I thought I was on my way."
Schmelzel said the mental aspect represented the determinating factor.
After a marginal front nine, she conferred with Xavier coach Sister Lynn Winsor, and broke into tears. Following a comforting session, Schmelzel cranked up her concentration level, and had enough on the back nine to edge Kim, who shot a 70.
"Sarah is our only senior, a leader and the glue which holds our team together," Winsor said. "I thought there were a few factors against us. Hamilton is tough opponent, and the course was a challenge."
In the end, Xavier, with two freshman, a sophomore, junior and senior Schmelzel managed to achieved the school's 100th state title. Concluding her 38th year of coaching golf at Xavier, Winsor walked from away Aguila with her 29th title.
"Coaching this team was the most fun and the most excited I‘ve been," Winsor added. "Looking ahead, we have several coming back next season, and competition always makes good teams."
Complementing Schmeilzel's near record 66, Madison Kerley (68-76, 144), Ariana Macioce (75-73, 148), Anne Straneva (78-80, 158), and Katie Dunaway (86-81, 167) powered the Xavier team title.
"I wanted the team title really bad," Schmelzel said. "This is such a special group. We'll all great friends and have great chemistry. You work so hard, and it's great to see it pay off."
For Hamilton, Schmelzel's stellar round was difficult to overcome.
"You have to give it up for Schmelzel," said Huskies coach Kevin Krahenbuhl. "Whenever someone shoots a 66, that's tough to beat. But Xavier has a great history and give them credit. They have one of the elite girls golf programs in the country, and showed that."
While Kim, one of the best high school golfers in the country, is headed to the University of Southern California, Krahenbulh thinks we have not heard the last of her.
"I expect Kyung to continue to compete at a high level," he said. "I would be shocked if we do not see her on the national level."
In the opening round, Kim shot 69, and with her 70 on Saturday, finished second with a score of 139. Teammates Saki Iida (79-74, 155), Mikayla Harmon (73-69, 142), Helen Kim (78-79, 157), and Lariat Adams (84-86, 170) help created Hamilton's team score of 591.
Notre Dame finished second to Tucson Salpointe Catholic, 626-664.
Salpointe's Krystal Quihuis captured the Division II individual title with a two-day score of 68-74, 142. Senior Kelsie Sanborn lead Notre Dame with 75-84, 159, and good for third best.
Afterward, Sanborn's leadership and mentoring to a young Notre Dame team was identified by coach Shelly Dinges as instrumental for the second-place finish.
"(Kelsie) is everything you want in a player," Dinges said. "The girls clearly look up to her in every aspect. They even shout, ‘I want to have my picture taken with Kelsie.'"
In addition to Sanborn's 159, Sarah Eversman (83-78, 161), Mollie Hughes (88-83-171), Ciara Petronzio (90-88, 178), and Riley Corona (85-91, 176) all contributed to a strong Notre Dame finish.
Elsewhere, Scottsdale Christian, with a team score of 773, finished sixth among Division II schools.