It was the perfect storm for emotions.
Lewis and Clark coach Michelle Grafos was exhausted, her allergies were acting up and she was trying to put into perspective how much three seniors have meant to her program after the Tigers finished second to Bellarmine Prep at the State 4A girls golf tournament on a breezy Wednesday at MeadowWood.
“It’s this group,” said Grafos, after a couple of unsuccessful attempts to coax the words out. “I’m sorry, I’m usually not like this, but it’s a combination of being tired and so happy and proud of them. Just a really special group of kids and parents.”
The Tigers didn’t get the storybook ending Grafos had hoped for, totaling 121.5 points, well behind the powerhouse Lions, who finished with 172 points for their third consecutive championship. Bellarmine Prep sophomore Alivia Brown won the individual title with a birdie on the second playoff hole over teammate Jordan Ferreira and Central Kitsap’s Katie Lee. The trio finished with two-round totals of even-par 144.
LC was led by freshman Sierra Kersten, whose 75 gave her a total of 149 and a tie for fifth place. Senior Megan Haase shot 74 for a two-day total of 150. She placed seventh, her fourth top 10 at state. Senior Sydney Kersten, tied for first after a 72 on Tuesday, shot 80 and tied for eighth. Senior Katie Larson’s second-round 80 moved her into a tie for 20th.
“Bellarmine is just very difficult to beat,” said Haase, who eagled the par-5 7th. “We gave a pretty good performance and it just didn’t happen, but I’m proud of our team.”
No. 18, which again played into a stout wind, stung LC for the second straight day. Four Tigers played the hole in a combined 6-over Wednesday.
Bellarmine Prep essentially clinched another title when Brown, who started playing golf just two years ago, came in with her second straight 72 and Ferreira, a junior who has committed to Notre Dame, fired a 71. Three teammates placed in the top 17. The Lions only lose one senior.
“This team wanted it all year and they went and got it,” said Bellarmine Prep coach Mark Bender, who has celebrated eight titles in 17 seasons. “Alivia is unbelievable. We call her ‘Big Slick.’ She’s as smooth and simple as can be. She has ice in her veins.”
Mead senior Kristen Hansen shot 75 and earned an eighth-place medal while freshman teammate Lydia Kim tied for 20th. The Panthers placed sixth.