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Clark leads Webster Groves to second-place team finish

Clark leads Webster Groves to second-place team finish

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NEW BLOOMFIELD — The Webster Groves High girls golf team made sure that every stroke counted on Tuesday.

The Statesmen recorded a narrow second-place finish in the Class 3 state tournament with a two-day total of 703 at Meadow Lake Acres Country Club.

Springfield Catholic locked up the title on Monday, essentially, and finished with a 90-stroke margin of victory to win the championship in its first year in Class 3 after winning Class 2 (2020) and Class 1 (2019).

The Statesmen claimed second place by a single stroke over Tolton, which held a two-shot lead in the battle for the runner-up spot going into the final round.

“Every stroke matters,” Webster Groves coach Cary Morrison said. “It’s just the grind of knowing whether No. 2, 7, 13 or 18, that it is never OK to take a shot off and this group has done this well.”

Webster Groves equaled its second-place team finish of 1985, according to Morrison.

The Statesmen won the state crown in 1984.

Webster Groves finished with two all-state golfers in Jenna Clark (sixth) and Sarah Ewing (11th) as both shot 80 over the final 18 holes.

Ewing saw an eight-stroke improvement from her first-round tally.

“We all knew we didn’t play our best yesterday, but we were (two) strokes back of second,” said Clark, who took 10th place at last year’s championship. “A lot of people were frustrated with how we played. We knew Springfield Catholic was very good so we kind of let that goal go, but we knew if we played well we could come home with second. That is very big for our school.”

The day started on a high note for the runners-up when No. 5 golfer Emma Norton chipped in for par on her first hole of the day. She shot 117 on day one, but carded 98 on the second day.

The Nakatani sisters were the next two finishers for the Statesmen, with Cate tying for 28th and Ellie tying for 31st – two shots back of her sister.

Two other local golfers earned all-state honors. Parkway West’s Kylie Secrest (tied for 8th/164) and Liberty’s Kyndall Stubblefield (tied for 14th/171)

In her second trip to state, Secrest not only improved her finish (27th), she also closed on a high note. She sank a 10-foot putt on No. 18 to close the round, which got a large applause from the gallery.

She was playing in a foursome that featured Clark, as well as state champion Regan Zibilski of Springfield Catholic and runner-up Audrey Rischer of Tolton. The crowd of more than 50 parents and players brought out the best in Secrest.

“It was amazing playing in that group, I look up to a couple of those girls,” Secrest said. “Playing girls who are at a higher level, you try to match them.”

Fort Zumwalt South’s Ava LaPorsha tied for 16th.

Ladue’s Meera Upadhyay, who sank a six-foot putt to finish with an 87, shaved three scores off her opening round score and was six shots away from earning all-state honors

Ladue finished eight in the team standings.

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