The Lady Lions just returned home from the Class 5A Girls State Championship held at Duncan Golf and Tennis Club.
The first day of the tournament was a windy but warm spring day that made the course play hard and fast. The ball seemed to roll forever downwind and would barely make headway going into the 20-30 miles per hour wind.
The Lady Lions showed up ready to play and after the wind swept first round was over, the Lions were in second place only two shots behind the Deer Creek Antlers. Who opened with a first round 338.
The Lions score of 340 put Durant three shots in front of third place Duncan and 24 in front of fourth place Ardmore.
“It was a tough day on the course and it was just what I wanted to see,” said coach Tanner Dupree.” Over the years, my senior girls have played in more bad weather than anyone in the state. It gave us an experience advantage.”
Defending State Champion Sydney Youngblood held a first round lead by 6 strokes after opening with 73. She got to that number by making birdie on 3 of her last 4 holes.
Seniors Sydni Mckaughan, Rheagan Jones, and Gabbi Ford played very solid golf and were in 8th, 12th, and 14th respectively after the first round with rounds of 88, 89, and 90. Junior Karina Parmley also had a nice day shooting a 96 which was good enough to be tied at 22nd position.
In day two of the tournament brought spring thunderstorms with it. It rained throughout the night and into the morning causing a two hour delay in the starting time and changing the way the course played.
“We went from a fast, dry course to one that was soft and more player friendly because you could get the ball to stop where you wanted it to and the wind wasn’t blowing as bad,”said Dupree.
The Lions who were paired with both Duncan and Deer Creek teed off just after Noon.
“We knew where we stood and what we had to do,” Dupree said. “The thing about a tournament like this is that it is a battle of attrition, focus, and self-discipline. As a player you don’t want to be the one who lets your teammates down and even if it’s not going well for you, you have to stay in the moment and focus on the task at hand. I think our girls did that.”
After the tournament was over and all the scores were tallied, it was the Duncan Demons who came away on top, finishing with a two day total of 678.
Durant Lady Lions earned their first ever state tournament trophy by finishing as the State Runner Ups after posting a two day score of 691 just edging out Deer Creek at 693.
Sydney Youngblood cruised her way to a second round 75 earning her second consecutive individual State Championship.
McKaughan was once the second best on the team shooting a 90 and placing her in a tie for 10th. Since all ties have to be played off, Sydni had to play against a girl from Coweta to break the tie.
“It was a cool scene because we had all these Durant supporters following Syd. We probably had 30 people there cheering for her, said Dupree. “She stepped up on the tee box and in spite of being nervous, she hit a great tee shot and followed that up by hitting 3 more excellent shots and was able to tap in for par. Her competitor missed a short par putt giving Sydney 10th place.”
Rheagan Jones fought her way to a 93 on the second round and finished the tournament in 13th place. “Rheagan was very important to our success this season. She improved throughout the year and really helped us get to where we finished,” said Dupree.
Gabbi Ford finished in 14th place after a closing round 93. “Gabbi made the biggest strides for this team between last year and this year. She dropped her stroke average by nearly 8 shots from last season,” Dupree said.
Karina Parmley shot an even 100 on the second day. After the two rounds, the junior ended in a tie for 24th place. “Karina is another hard working kid. She still has another year and I expect her to be one of the leaders on the team next season.
All this makes for a pretty good ending to the season; however the Lady Lions were not done collecting hardware.
During the team dinner on Tuesday night before the tournament, the Lions were presented with the State Academic Championship which is awarded to the school with the highest combined grade point average.
The Lady Lions were still not done gathering awards. Two seniors, Rheagan Jones and Sydni McKaughan were named to the East All-State team after their performance at the State Tournament.
In order to receive All-State, players must be a senior and finsih with one of the top two scores from the Oklahoma Coaches Association East or West region.
“This was the one award that was truly a surprise. As Sydni was playing her playoff hole for 10th place, the names of McKaughan and Jones were posted as All-Staters. It was a really nice surprise to come back and find.”
“I want to say thank you to these 4 girls for all your hard work and dedication to our team over the course of your carrer. No matter how much success we have in the future, we will always know that it all started with the the class of 2014,” said Dupree.