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Hays High girls win 5A regional

By AUSTIN COLBERT

acolbert@dailynews.net

Hays High School junior Lexie Schaben loves the rain -- even when she has to golf in it. And maybe for her sake, she should play in it more often.

Schaben led Hays High with a second-place score of 93 at the Class 5A girls' golf regional at wet and windy Smoky Hill Country Club on Monday. It is Schaben's best career finish.

"When I was warming up I didn't hit the ball very well," Schaben said. "Then I just played and it kind of clicked for me. I don't really know what happened."

Schaben's score paved the way for a first-place team finish for the Indians, advancing them to next Monday's Class 5A state tournament at Tex Consolver Golf Course in Wichita.

Hays High's top four finishers combined to shoot 408, with Salina Central second with 418. Great Bend shot 457 to finish third, the cutoff to qualify for the state tournament.

Newton (470), Salina South (509) and Liberal (541) rounded out the team scores.

"The day was tough. It was windy; it rained off and on," Hays High coach Mark Watts said. "But I'm pleased with this team. Now we are there. We are going to go down and have some fun, see how we can do against the rest of the 5A's in the state."

Freshman Katie Brungardt was the next best Indian behind Schaben. She shot a 100 to finish in fourth place. She shot eight strokes better on her back nine compared to her front nine.

The culprit: nerves.

"Yeah, my back nine, not my front nine," Brungardt said with a smile about what she liked about her performance on Monday. "I think I just got used to the nerves and kind of controlled them."

Freshman Taylor DeBoer (105, 6th place) and junior Elissa Jensen (110, 9th place) also medaled for Hays High. Freshman Rhian Patterson (116) and junior Macie Mayo (123) also competed.

Despite the inexperience heading into Monday's regional, Watts wasn't overly surprised by the team's results. Not that he would expect anything less.

"Our girls put the time in. They have to put up with me a little bit because I'm pretty demanding of them," Watts said. "Some of that stuff pays off. Maybe they are listening."

Salina Central's Alissa Kim cruised to the individual title with her 81, shooting a 39 on the front nine. Newton's Lexi Pauls took third with a 95.