It may not have been the winning score, but the Elk Lake girls’ golf team will take 275.
The Lady Warriors shaved 60 points off their score from the previous year to earn fourth place at the PIAA Class 2A State Championships.
Elk Lake finished just 27 strokes behind defending champion Greensburg Central Catholic. Sophomore Chloe Sipe, who had competed the previous two days in the individual championships, led the way with an 84. Taegan Mills fired a 94, and Payton LaRue broke a 100 the first time in her career with a 97. Reese Warriner had a 120 to round out the Elk Lake lineup.
For LaRue the day’s effort was proof that all the hard work in the offseason paid off.
“I put a lot more work in the offseason,” said LaRue who despite being one of the team’s two Juniors has been golfing the least amount of time.
Elk Lake also had to contend with the layoff between the district and state competition. Because none of the District IV teams had a qualifying score no regional competition was held in between districts and states.
“It was tough, but we continued to practice and stay focused,” said LaRue.
Mills and LaRue also felt a scrimmage with Hazleton at Heritage Hills the previous week was integral part of the team’s success at the PIAA event, especially after rain on Tuesday cancelled the team’s scheduled practice round.
“It (the scrimmage) helped a lot in learning the course and getting comfortable with it,” said Mills.
“Playing a team like Hazleton also gave us a feel of what the competition would be like,” added LaRue.