Aurora’s best girls golfers felt they had some unfinished business at the end of the 2015 season, but it didn’t put much of a damper on an outstanding year.
A very rare cancellation of the second round of the Class 5A state tournament — which fell victim to drenching rain May 19 at The Olde Course in Loveland — made the season-ending results based on just one round to the chagrin of all.
Still, the five players who make up the 2015 Aurora Sentinel All-City Girls Golf Team — which is based on performance at the state tournament — were the tops around the city all season long.
The Regis Jesuit trio of senior Sydney Gillespie, junior Mary Weinstein and sophomore Jaclyn Murray preserved their schools’ streak of winning at least one boys or girls state championship. The other two first-teamers, Grandview junior Morgan Sahm and senior Caroline O’Donnell, helped lead the Wolves to a program-best fourth-place team finish.
Gillespie, who won the individual Continental League title as well as the Northern Regional crown, finished second individually after shooting a 2-under-par 70 in the opening round. She didn’t get a chance to catch friend Gillian Vance of Dakota Ridge — who shot 4-under — when the second round was scrubbed.
“I did everything I could do on the first day to put myself in position,” Gillespie said. “It was still great to win the championship. We had a lot of support from the school because they want the championship as much as we do.”
Gillespie, a Colorado Christian University signee, won three state championships in four years. In her final season, she won Continental League tournaments at South Suburban G.C. and The Pinery and helped the Raiders finish 30 shots clear of Highlands Ranch in the league team championship chase.
Aside from winning the state championship — something she believes her Grandview team might be able to do next season — Sahm had a season nearly on par with Gillespie’s.
She won the individual Centennial League title and finished as the Southern Regional winner as well with a 1-under-par 70, achieving both in consecutive weeks at CommonGround G.C.
At state, Sahm shot a plus-1 73 to finish tied for third, which gave her three top-nine individual state finishes in three seasons. She also didn’t get to make a run at Vance, but still came away satisfied.
“I’m actually really happy with the way I performed this season,” Sahm said. “I think I had only one really awful tournament (a league meet at Aurora Hills). Obviously every round you can drop a couple of strokes, but overall I’m happy.”
Weinstein and Murray each played crucial roles again in winning the state championship for coach George Miller’s Regis Jesuit team, as they both finished in the top 10.
Both players also won a league tournament, with Weinstein winning the Continental League meet at Pinehurst and Murray taking top honors in the Plum Creek tournament.
With a 3-over-par 75, Weinstein finished tied for seventh at state.
“It wasn’t completely horrible, but I had a lot of opportunities to hit better shots,” Weinstein said. “I had Coach Miller walk with me, which I normally don’t do, and I stayed calm…It was nice to get back-to-back wins for Regis.”
Weinstein used the canceled second day of the state tournament for some much needed time to study before final exams.
Murray’s typically strong iron game deserted her at state, which made her work harder than usual for her ninth-place state total of 76.
Still, she played well enough to help the Raiders make sure another team didn’t come take the title with a strong first day.
“It was a little disappointing that it happened at state, but I’ve got it fixed,” Murray said of her struggles with the irons.
“It’s nice that even when we don’t have our A games, we can still come through,” she added.
O’Donnell’s nerves played much less of a role in her second trip to state and she showed it with a 10-stroke improvement.
Still, she believed there was room to be even better.
“I felt like I didn’t play my best on the first day and I had a lot of mistakes,” O’Donnell said of her 83. “I was ready to correct them and do better, so it was kind of sad we didn’t get to play again.”
O’Donnell also enjoyed playing with her freshman sister Caitlin, who was also part of Grandview’s state team and should be a major factor as the Wolves aim higher in the 2016 season.
Courtney Oakes is Sports Editor of the Aurora Sentinel. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @aurorasports. FB: Aurora Prep Sentinel
2015 AURORAS SENTINEL ALL-CITY GIRLS GOLF TEAM
Sydney Gillespie, Regis Jesuit, sr.; Jaclyn Murray, Regis Jesuit, soph.; Caroline O’Donnell, Grandview, sr.; Morgan Sahm, Grandview, jr.; Mary Weinstein, Regis Jesuit, jr.
Sam Chaney, Vista PEAK (4A), soph.; Emily Jung, Grandview, jr.; Caitlin O’Donnell, Grandview, fr.; Kylee Shepard, Vista PEAK (4A), jr.; Ali Timlin, Regis Jesuit, jr.; Sydney Yu, Cherokee Trail, jr.