Lady Buffs golfers struggle in WAC finale at Great Bend

GIRLS GOLF: Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020

The final of five Western Athletic Conference tournaments proved to be a difficult one for the Garden City High School Lady Buffaloes.

On Tuesday, Oct. 6, the Lady Buffs competed at the Great Bend Invitational, played over the Stonebridge Golf Club layout. It has been a course in recent years to cause problems for many of the best WAC golfers.

Tuesday was no exception as an 85 was the best score posted by any WAC golfer, that coming from WAC Player of the Year Taleia McCrae. She was joined by teammates to capture the top four individual spots as the Lady Indians cruised to a 344 total to win by 27 shots over Great Bend.

The Lady Buffs, meanwhile, shot a 384 (4 scores) to place fourth, finishing 8 shots back of third-place Dodge City’s 376. Liberal was a distant fifth at 482.

Individually, sophomore Ryan Warren was the lone Lady Buffs’ golfer to place, taking sixth with an 89. Rian Linenberger shot a 96, Emma Ortiz a 99 and Jerika Lopez a 100 for the remaining counting scores. Allie Sandoval (103) and Hannah Plummer (112) rounded out the Buffs’ scoring.

During the fall season, each of the five WAC schools hosts a tournament in which team and individual points are awarded to determine league champions.

Hays won all five team tournaments to capture the league title with 25 points (5 points for a win) while Dodge City captured second with 18 points. The Lady Buffs took third with 14 points, Great Bend fourth with 13 and Liberal finished with 5.

Individually, McCrae won four of the five WAC events with teammate Katie Dinkel claiming a win in the other. McCrae won WAC Player of the Year honors with 73 points (15 for first). Hays’ Sophia Garrison was second (63), and Warren took third with 56 points to earn all-WAC first-team honors. Dinkel, Ashlyn Harbaugh of Great Bend and Tiley Fry of Dodge City rounded out the all-WAC first team. The Lady Buffs did not have a golfer in the next six which comprised the Honorable Mention list.

Next up for the Lady Buffs will be the Class 6A regional tournament on Monday, Oct. 12, at Mariah Hills Golf Course in Dodge City. The top 3teams advance to the state tournament which is scheduled for Oct. 19-20 at Hesston Golf Course. Addtionally, the top six individual scores who otherwise don’t qualify on a team advance to the state event.

Usually, the top 4 teams advance but with COVID restrictions in place, the Kansas State High School Activities Association has reduced the number of qualifying teams. Also, with only 9 teams competing, there will be no cut at the state tournament to the lowest 6 teams as took place in 2019.

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