It was a fun day.
That’s how Caidin Hill described Day 2 of the state Class C golf tournament at Double Arrow Golf Course Wednesday in Seeley Lake.
After building a nine-stroke lead Tuesday, the Manhattan Christian sophomore cruised to a second consecutive individual championship. Hill carded an 81 to finish with a two-day total of 155 to lead the Eagles to back-to-back team championships.
“It was just kind of a fun day,” Hill said. “Didn’t have a lot of pressure. It was just good.”
Hill carded a 74 on Day 1 and then won the tournament by finishing 12 strokes ahead of Darby’s Ryley Conner. He noted the game plan was the same both days.
“I just tried to play the exact same way. Just tried to play irons in the middle of the fairway and irons to the middle of the green, and then two-putt,” said Hill. “This course is nice because if you hit it straight it rewards you with good scores.”
Led by Hill, the Eagles won the team championship with a score of 502. Park City was second with a 527 and Westby/Grenora third with a 532.
“Caidin’s just a rock when it comes to his mind. We laid out a game plan for him yesterday and he followed it to a T,” Eagles co-head coach Tom Hubers said. “Had one little hiccup on hole 17, otherwise he was only 2-over for the day with that double on 17.”
Trevor VanDyken and David Aamot each earned All-State honors for the Eagles after placing 9th and 13th, respectively, with scores of 172 and 175. Teammate Cullen Visser just missed out of placing in the top 15 with a 178.
Hill hopes this second championship will lead to third in 2020 with Aamot the lone golfer graduating.
“We’re pretty excited and we have a pretty young core, so I think we’re hoping to do it again next year,” he said. “But we’re still just excited and loving life and having fun right now.”
Christian’s girls became the first program since the classification began holding its own tournament in 2000 to win three consecutive championships. Led by Jillian Frye, the Eagles cruised to victory with a team score of 618.
“We didn’t know until yesterday that it had never been done in Class C history, so that was kind of a shock to us,” said Frye. “And today when they were announcing, it was pretty cool to say that we had a three-peat and we were the first-ever to do it.”
Frye, the winner of last year’s individual title, had won every regular season meet heading into state. But the senior relinquished her crown to good friend Landri Paladichuk of Ennis.
“Landri played really solid. She’s a great competitor and really good golfer,” said Hubers. “Our hats are off to her and Ennis and Jordan (Overstreet), the coach over there.”
Paladichuk followed an 88 with an 85 to finish with a 173. Frye carded a 90 on Tuesday and then had a 95 to finish with two-day total of 185.
“Yesterday my short game was phenomenal. I played pretty good with my short game, but struggled with my irons and my drives,” said Frye. “And then today was just the opposite. I just couldn’t put two nines together I guess.”
Frye trailed Paladichuk by two strokes after Tuesday and was unable to make up the ground on Day 2.
“It definitely is bittersweet. You always want to come out with the individual win as well as the team win,” said Frye. “But I’m just grateful that I can share the team win with my team and they worked just as hard as I did out there. We put together a decent score. It may not have been what we all wanted, but I’m just proud of all of us.”
The Eagles’ Alexa VanDyken earned All-State honors after tying for sixth with a 214, while Natalie Walhof was 16th with a 225 and Maddie Liudahl tied for 17th with a 226.
With four placers in the top 20 — the top three counted toward the team score — Christian won the championship by 33 strokes over Chinook.
“We talked about how hard it is to win a championship. We had some success last year, and we talked about it’s a hard thing to do and a hard thing to do again,” Eagles co-head coach Jeff Bellach said. “The resolve that they showed, and the commitment that they showed, was just awesome.”
With five state championships over the past three years, both players and coaches hope the program’s success will continue next year.
“After the first one three years ago we kind of got some momentum going with the program and a lot of younger kids in our school system are getting into interested in the game,” said Hubers. “It does a lot for a program to win state championships and we contribute that a lot to Jill and the other players that have been the last three years.”
Loyola sweeps Class B
Missoula Loyola swept the Class B championships led by Bucky Crippen and Katie Fagg. The boys won by won 48 strokes after carding a 639, while the girls won by 40 with a 728.
Crippen, who posted a tournament best 65 on Tuesday, finished with a 75 en route to a 140 to win individual championship. Fagg finished with a two-day total of 156 to win the girls title.
Manhattan’s girls placed ninth in the team standings with a 958. They improved by 18 strokes from the first day with Jasmine Grossman placing 21st with a two-day total of 207.
“We’re happy with what we did. We improved over yesterday’s team score by quite a bit,” Manhattan coach Pat Lynch said. “We had some nice scores after three long days on a tough course for the kids.”
Ashley McCormack carded a 213, while the Tigers were rounded out by Kristen McCormack (239), Cayli Chapman (299), and Ella Halvorson (311).
“I think Jasmine was a little bit higher today,” said Lynch. “Ashley was right about the same, Kristen improved, and then Cayli and Ella both improved as well.”
Makenzie Rowan improved by seven strokes on Day 2 with a 104 en route to finishing in the top 30 for Three Forks with a 215.
“Rough front nine, but came back strong with a really good back nine,” Three Forks coach Aaron Harkins said. “Finished strong.”
Three Forks’ John Jennings followed up an 83 on Day 1 with a 94 to card a 177 for the boys. He finished just shy of earning All-State honors with a 177.
“I was over at the girls course today,” Harkins said. “All the scores I heard were a little higher for the boys, most of them. Maybe they set it up a little tougher, but he had a good run and tried his best.”
State C Tournament
(at Double Arrow Golf Course, Seeley Lake)
Team scores: 1, Manhattan Christian 502; 2, Park City 527; 3, Westby/Grenora 532; 4, Fairview 533; 5, Gardiner 536; 6, Great Falls Central 538; 7, Lone Peak 545; 8, Darby 568; 9, Powder River 579, 10, Ennis 584; 11, Fort Benton 586; 12, Wibaux 594; 13, Plentywood 600; 14, White Sulphur Springs 611; 15, Savage 639; 16, Scobey 655; 17, Sunburst 636; 18, Richey/Lambert 648; 19, Chinook 704. No score: Absarokee, Cascade, Centerville, Culbertson, Denton, Harlowton, Plains, Clark Fork, Valier, Plenty Coups, Medicine Lake/Froid.
Top 15 Individuals: 1, Caidin Hill, Manhattan Christian, 74-81-155; T2, Ryley Conner, Darby, 85-82-167; Austin Popp, Park City, 84-83-167; 4, Nathan Browne, Lone Peak, 83-86-169; T5, Trevor Swanson, Ennis, 87-84-171; Alex Schriver, Fairview, 85-86-171; Kale Peterson, Westby/Grenora, 83-88-171; Jack Solberg, Westby/Grenora, 85-86-171; T9, Trevor VanDyken, Manhattan Christian, 89-83-172; Sean Rehmer, Gardiner, 88-84-172; Gerit Johnson, Fairview, 92-80-172; T12, Teigan Isakson 87-88-175; David Aamot, Manhattan Christian, 90-85-175; T14, Tel Lunde, Wibaux, 87-90-177; Jacob Perius, Gardiner, 87-90-177; Troy Amsden, Powder River, 93-84-177.
Team scores: 1, Manhattan Christian 618; 2, Chinook 651; 3, Fort Benton 674; 4, Scobey 692; 5, Harlowton 697; 6, Belt 707; 7, Lone Peak 718; 8, Great Falls Central 740; 9, Plentywood 744; 10, Fairview 745; 11, Richey/Lambert 759. No team score: Centerville, Denton, Ennis, Park City, Plains, Plenty Coups, Powder River, Seeley-Swan, Wibaux, Savage, Clark Fork, Cascade.
Top 15 Individuals: 1, Landri Paladichuk, Ennis, 88-85-173; 2, Jillian Frye, Manhattan Christian, 90-95-185; 3, TJ Nordahl, Lone Peak, 189; 4, Jaelyn Vielleux, Fort Benton, 107-104-211; 5, Sage King, Harlowton, 116-96-212; T6, Crystal Hofer, Chinook, 112-102-214; Alexa VanDyken, Manhattan Christian, 108-106-214; 8, Emily Pahut, Great Falls Central, 111-104-215; 9, ShaAnn Danielson, Scobey, 107-109-216; 10, Maggie Howes, Absarokee, 111-106-217; T11, Ashley MacLeod, 107-111-218; Ally Young, Fairview, 107-111-218; T14, Hailey Bell, Chinook, 103-116-219; Teagan Oliva, Harlowton, 110-109-219; 15, Sahara Scott, Fort Benton, 105-117-222.
State B Tournament