Keating sisters guide Elma to tourney title

1A STATE GOLF: Alexis and Lauryn Keating go 2-3 as Eagles win by 31 points

Contributing writerMay 24, 2012 

DUPONT – There was cause for some sibling revelry.

Led by senior Alexis Keating and freshman Lauryn Keating, her sister, the Elma Eagles battled wind and rain to win their first girls state title in school history at the Class 1A state golf championship at The Home Course.

Goldendale sophomore Bree Wandersheid won the individual competition Wednesday, shooting a par 72 for a two-day total of 2-over 146, but the Keatings tallied enough points to easily lift the Eagles to the top.

Both shot 2-over-par 76s in the final round, and Alexis finished in second place at 150. Lauryn was third at 156.

Alexis Keating said helping her school to a state championship was a great way to finish her high school career. Elma finished with 48 points, while Cascade Christian was a distant second with 17.

“There’s always other teams out there that come to play, just like we did, so there’s always competition,” she said. “But we played well and came out with it, and that’s very exciting.”

Michelle Keating, the girls’ mother and coach, said it was a proud moment for her team, which also had senior Jenna Powers tie for 17th.

“It’s very unique,” Michele Keating said, adding that golf can be a hard sport to understand. “People don’t quite get how you can go about winning a title or how big of a deal it is, so it’s honestly hard to put into words just how it makes you feel.”

Wanderscheid, who tied with Alexis Keating for second last year, liked this outcome better.

“It’s really exciting,” she said. “I came so close last year, so actually winning is really cool.”

Wandersheid led at the second-round turn, with a 1-under 35, but said the turning point was the par-3 12th hole, where she made a 30-foot birdie putt.

“That was the hole that kind of changed everything,” she said.

In the boys event, Ilwaco junior Ross Kukula won his first state championship and helped the Fishermen capture their third consecutive team title with 151.50 points. Lakeside-Nine Mile Falls was second with 66.

“It feels really great to win individually, but it means even more as a team because it means so much to our community,” said Kukula, who had a final round of 2-over 74 for a total of 5-over 149 – two shots ahead of Omak’s Ryder Lewis (75) and Lynden Christian’s Willy Scholten (75).

Kukula, who was 12th in 2011, said he was 6 over through seven holes and it took “a lot of perseverance” to go 4 under on the last 11.

Ilwaco coach Dan Whealdon thought the rain might have had more to do with it.

“Our kids play very, very well in bad weather,” he said. “Ross kind of lit the fire when it started raining again, and I think he started his comeback during that half-hour monsoon.”

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