A girls' golf team with a pedigree as one of the state's best accomplished exactly what it set out to do Monday at Eisenhower Golf Course.
A sophomore, perhaps better known around her school as a volleyball player for a state power, chopped some 15 shots off her typical round from last year and snagged the last berth for the upcoming state tournament.
When 46 of the region's golfers representing 12 schools converged on the Blue Course, many, if not most, would have been shocked if Cheyenne Mountain didn't win the team title convincingly. With a 256, highlighted by a event-best 77 from junior Kylee Sullivan, the Indians did just that, finishing 43 shots ahead of Falcon.
"It's awesome to be on a team that has won regionals the last three years," said Sullivan, who defended her individual title after firing a 77 on the Eisenhower Silver Course last May. "We have a great tradition at Cheyenne Mountain, and it's great to keep it going, to show we're still on top."
Besides the team of Indians, the next eight individual finishers also earned a ticket to the state tournament, May 19-20 at The Country Club of Colorado. The top of the leaderboard resembled a "who's who" of the Pikes Peak Athletic Conference's most consistent golfers, led off by Sullivan and followed by Air Academy sophomore Kelsey McKenna (80), Falcon junior Victoria Goodman (81), Cheyenne Mountain senior Samantha Weber (88), Palmer Ridge freshman Kellsey Sample (89) and Lewis-Palmer senior Megan McCutcheon (90).
When Air Academy athletic director Diane Shuck read off the eighth and final state qualifier, heads began to turn when Allie Garcia of Coronado didn't immediately arrive for her ribbon.
There was a simple explanation for Garcia's lack of proximity to the awards ceremony.
"That's why I was upstairs; I didn't think I was in contention," said Garcia, a defensive specialist for her team's perennial state qualifier. "I thought someone was messing with me."
Garcia, who said she averaged a 121 during her freshman year, improved her driving distance in the offseason, or whenever she had time to practice between school and club volleyball.
Although her short game suffered in a number of missed putts, her round of 106 was good enough to land the final spot by one stroke.
In two weeks, she'll get another chance to make up for a few missed shots.
"I was hoping I'd get a second chance at state, just not expecting my name to be called," Garcia said. "I can fix my putting, and I hope to do a lot better at state and play to my full potential."