PARKER | The Cherokee Trail girls golf team made program history with its performance over two days at the Class 5A state tournament that wrapped up Wednesday and six players from city programs made the top 20.

Scores were better for the majority of the 14 Aurora players in the field at Black Bear Golf Club in the second round and it produced some significant rises on the leaderboard, especially for the Cougars, who saw sophomore Kaleigh Babineaux rise from 14th at the opening round to eighth at the conclusion and senior Bead Boonta went from 18th to 11th.

Coach Justin Jajczyk’s Cherokee Trail team finished with a two-day team total of 496, which put them two strokes ahead of Centennial League rival Cherry Creek for fourth place, while the Cougars were also just two strokes shy of third-place Rock Canyon. Castle View, a team Cherokee Trail defeated by 20 strokes in regional play, finished second behind runaway winner Valor Christian.

“Heads were hanging a little yesterday, but what we did today got us to the highest we’ve ever finished at state,” Jajczyk said. “I’m super proud of them and what they accomplished this season.”

The Cougars won a regional tournament for a second straight season, had the regional medalist in Babineaux and finished highest among the Centennial League teams at the state tournament, making it a pretty outstanding season.

Babineaux finished tied for 38th at state as a freshman and made a huge jump as a sophomore as she overcame the disappointment of a plus-9 81 in the opening round with a 74 that shot her up the standings. Her final round included three birdies.

“I definitely reached a goal of being in the top 10 as only a sophomore, but I definitely feel I could have played better,” Babineaux said. “That first day put me out of where I thought I should be at, but I came back strong in the second day. I’m still proud of top 10.”

Boonta tied for 11th as a junior and finished in the exact same spot as a senior, but she finished four strokes lower than she had in the 2022 tournament. She shot 77 in her second round (after an 82 in the first round) with one birdie and nothing worse than a bogey.

Sophomore Haylee Clark provided the third score for Cherokee Trail with a two-day total of 182 that tied her for 37th overall.

In her third state tournament, Grandview junior Caroline Ryan matched Boonta for the biggest drop from first round to second (seven strokes), as she followed an opening round 85 with a 78 that kept her in 17th place in the final standings.

The Wolves climbed one spot in the team standings from the first round to the second round as they finished 10th with the second and third scores coming from seniors Courtney Ladymon and Allie Arritola, respectively.

Led by sophomore Audrey Whitmore, Regis Jesuit surpassed last season’s 11th-place finish with an eighth-place result.

Whitmore had a 10-stroke drop from first to second rounds in 2022 when she finished tied for 45th and she bettered her first round 83 with an 81 in the second round to come in 18th overall. Whitmore came in one stroke ahead of senior Caitlin Neumann, who shot 86 after opening with an 81. The third score for coach Charlie Rutenbeck’s Raiders came from Georgia Meysman-Sharpe, who finished 49th and came in on spot ahead of Paige Furgason.

Individually, Smoky Hill’s Sophia Stiwich posted the top result among locals with her runner-up finish (see story), while Eaglecrest senior Savanna Becker finished a career-best 19th in her third state tournament appearance.

Becker finished 41st in 2021 in her state debut, jumped to 22nd last season and with a score that was five strokes lower than in 2022, came in 19th and just a stroke behind Whitmore for 18th.

Courtney Oakes is Sentinel Colorado Sports Editor. Reach him at Twitter: @aurorasports. IG: Sentinel Prep Sports


May 30-31 at Black Bear Golf Club

Team scores (par 216-216 — 432): 1. Valor Christian 224-237 — 461; 2. Castle View 242-240 — 482; 3. Rock Canyon 244-250 — 494; 4. CHEROKEE TRAIL 253-243 — 496; 5. Cherry Creek 238-260 — 498; 6. Legend 259-244 — 503; 7. Mountain Vista 253-253 — 506; 8. REGIS JESUIT 257-262 — 519; 9. Fossil Ridge 258-268 — 526; 10. GRANDVIEW 276-266 — 542; 11. Arapahoe 280-270 — 550; 12. Chaparral 266-286 — 552; 13. Ralston Valley 286-292 — 578; 14. Lakewood 292-287 — 579; 15. Columbine 302-281 — 583; 16. Fairview 297-293 — 590

Top 10 individuals (par 72): 1. Brenna Higgins (Valor Christian) 66-77 — 143 (won in playoff); 2. SOPHIA STIWICH (SMOKY HILL) 67-76 — 143; 3. Ashleigh Wilson (Rock Canyon) 75-70 — 145; 4. Caitlyn Chin (Cherry Creek) 68-80 — 148; T5. Elle Higgins (Valor Christian) 74-75 — 149; T5. Sydney McCord (Castle View) 75-74 — 149; 7. Ellie Barry (Fossil Ridge) 80-74 — 154; 8. KALEIGH BABINEAUX (CHEROKEE TRAIL) 81-74 — 155; T9. Addison Hines (Ralston Valley) 75-81 — 156; T9. Ashley Chang (Rock Canyon) 72-84 — 156

Other Aurora results: 11. Bead Boonta (Cherokee Trail) 82-77 — 159; 17. Caroline Ryan (Grandview) 85-78 — 163; 18. Audrey Whitmore (Regis Jesuit) 83-81 — 164; 19. Savanna Becker (Eaglecrest) 85-80 — 165; T20. Caitlin Neumann (Regis Jesuit) 81-86 — 167; 36. Courtney Ladymon (Grandview) 89-90 — 179; T37. Haylee Clark (Cherokee Trail) 9082 — 182; 49. Georgia Meysman-Sharpe (Regis Jesuit) 93-98 — 191; 50. Paige Furgason (Regis Jesuit) 97-95 — 192; T51. Sofia Johancen-Walt (Cherokee Trail) 96-98 — 193; T60. Allie Arritola (Grandview) 102-98 — 200; 84. Kate Anderson (Grandview) 133-121 — 254

Full Class 5A girls state golf tournament individual results, here

Courtney Oakes is sports Editor and photographer with Sentinel Colorado. A Denver East High School alum. He came to the Sentinel in 2001 and since then has received a number of professional awards from...

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