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Tin Cup

Kelly Walsh's Nicole Klungness drives her ball down the fairway during the annual Tin Cup at Paradise Valley Country Club on Sept. 8 in Casper.

No other school in Wyoming has ever done what Kelly Walsh completed on Saturday. For the first time in history a school has swept boys and girls golf championships in consecutive seasons.

The Trojan boys rallied on Saturday to overtake Cheyenne East and beat the Thunderbirds by six strokes, 604 to 610, while the girls cruised to a third straight state championship by beating Natrona County by 30 strokes to bring both Class 4A trophies back to Casper for the second year in a row.

Logan Hensley finished second to individual champion Blake Danni of East. Danni’s 66 on Friday gave him a big-enough lead to cruise to his repeat championship while Hensley gained three strokes with a Saturday-best 71. Ethan Cates of Cheyenne Central took third.

Helping Hensley round out the Trojans were Dane Rasmussen, who shot a second-round 74 to finish fifth; Taj Sutherland, who was four strokes behind in seventh; and Russel Sprecher, who tied for ninth with a combined 158. Ned Murray finished 13th for the Trojans.

Senior Nicole Klungness nearly brought individual gold back to Casper as well as she and Evanston’s Kyra Sponenburgh went to a playoff tied at 163.

Sponenburgh won the first playoff hole to earn the state championship.

KW teammates Jocelyn Olson took fourth (165), Megan Griffin finished sixth (171), Barrett Lloyd was ninth (177) and Alyssa Miner tied for 21st (197).

Natrona County finished a distant second in the team standings with the Fillies’ top two golfers making the top 10. Senior Sarah Galles shot a second-round 81 to move to within a stroke of Sponenburgh and Klungness and finish third. Freshman Sophie Spiva shot the only sub-80 on Saturday with a 79 to move into eighth with a 175.

Torrington’s Caleigh Essert cruised to her second straight state championship, winning Class 3A by 32 strokes to help the Trailblazers win their first golf title in school history in convincing fashion (by 80 strokes over Lander).

The Lander boys won gold by seven strokes over Worland while Karsten Simmons took the individual medal for the Warriors by five strokes over the Tigers’ Jaren Calkins. Calkins led Simmons by two strokes going into Saturday but Simmons’ second-round 69 lifted him to victory.

Youth proved victorious in Class 2A as Thermopolis freshman Hardy Johnson eased his way to an individual gold by 21 strokes. He shot a 79 on Friday and a 77 on Saturday while the next-best round was Tongue River’s Nick Summers’ first-round 84.

Vicky Van Vleet of Wright earned individual gold while leading the Panthers to the team championship. Van Vleet edged out Moorcroft’s Alison Meredith by three strokes while the Panthers beat second-place Lusk by 30 strokes. It was the second consecutive state championship for Wright.

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High School Sports Reporter

Brady Oltmans reports on high school and local sports. He joined the Star-Tribune in July 2016 after covering prep sports and college soccer in Nebraska. He also contributes to University of Wyoming sports coverage. He and his dog live in Casper.

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