BY COREY GESFORD
The kids are all right, and Muhammad Ali doesn’t have a thing on them. The Elk Lake girls golf team in its first of year of existence had their “shook up the world” moment when they captured the District II Class 2A Girls Golf Championship Thursday afternoon.
Led by freshman sensation Chloe Sipe’s round of 86 Elk Lake finished 59 strokes ahead of Holy Cross. Their 291 overall score was the second lowest of all the teams in 2A and 3A with only senior-laden Hazelton’s 247 as the only team with a better score.
Sipe used a strong short game to capture the low score for Elk Lake, something that Coach Ryan Kipar said the team worked on extensively.
“I felt confident on every single putt and that was the key to finishing holes with a strong score,” Sipe said.
“We spent a lot of time around and on the greens focusing on two putting and chipping,” Kipar added.
Sophomore Taegan Mills who earlier in the year finished third in the Girls Jackman Memorial Tournament finished at an even 100 despite battling through a severely stiff neck that Kipar worried wasn’t going to allow her to finish the round.
Freshmen Reese Warriner finished with a final score of 105 in her round. Sophomore Payton LaRue came in with a 122 and freshman Jenna Daye was right behind her with a 125 which was exactly the goal Kipar had for the trio.
“We knew from the Jackman that we would be a team on the bubble for qualifying for states and if we could get that third girl between 120 and 125 – we would have a really good shot,” Kipar said.
“It was amazing to have Jenna and Payton in the mid to low 120s, but to also have Reese at 105 was a pleasant surprise,” Kipar said.
After a successful regular season, the Lady Warriors spent some time with golf pro Scott McAlarney who helped the coach fine tune some things with all the players, but especially LaRue, Daye, and Warriner.
Not only is the win a first for the Lady Warriors in their inaugural season, it is the school’s first golf title of any kind.
“It feels amazing,” said an emphatic Sipe. “As a team, we have worked so hard to reach this goal.”
“It took a while for it to set in,” said Kipar, reflecting on the championship run. “It’s something we were all proud of. The girls have worked extremely hard and deserved it.”
Earlier in the week, the Lady Warriors wrapped up their regular season with a pair of wins over Abington Heights. Monday they defeated the Lady Comets, 154-182, Mills shot a 42 to lead the way. Warriner finished with a 52 and LaRue and Day finished 60 and 61, respectively. Sipe was scratched from the match.
Two days later the two teams met at Lakeland Golf Course where Elk Lake edged Abington 128-133 behind Sipe who shot a 39. Mills finished at 42 again and Warriner came in with a 47 to aid the Elk Lake cause.