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Riverton wins state 4-A golf
Oct 2, 2013 - By Bruce Tippets, Sports Editor
It's just the sixth state championship for the Wolvernes boys in any sport and the first since 1999.
School history was made Tuesday when three freshmen and one junior propelled the Riverton Wolverines to the Class 4-A state golf championship Tuesday in Rock Springs.
RHS beat runner-up Cheyenne East by one stroke.
Not only is it the first state golf crown in Riverton history, it's the first Class 4-A championship in any sport for Riverton's boys. The Wolverines have four Class 3-A football titles and a 1963 track championship that pre-dates the modern classification system.
Freshmen Easton Paxton, Alec Richardson and Jayd Dion, plus junior Chris Quayle, got a celebration fire truck ride through Riverton after getting back to Riverton on Tuesday night.
RHS finished third last year at the state golf tournament, but none of the current players was on that team.
"There was a lot of pressure to win it," Richardson said. I'm glad that we were able to pull it out with all the pressure that was on us."
Clutch performances were turned in by all of the RHS players in the stretch drive of the state tournament.
"Three of the four kids made 5-foot putts or better," RHS coach Lars Flanagan said. "If one of those would have missed, we would have been in a playoff."
The Wolverines finished the 36-hole state tournament shooting a team score of 655.
"It really hasn't sunk in yet that we won," Dion said. "It feels incredible."
After the announcement in Rock Springs, Richardson said it was just pure excitement with all of his teammates.
"There was just a lot of hugs," Richardson said. "It was nice to have all the support."
RHS had a 337 on the first day and followed it up with a 318 on the final day.
Cheyenne East finished second at 656. Kelly Walsh was third in 658.
Laramie placed fourth after scoring a 667.
Riverton played the state tournament with four players, while the other teams had five. The top four scores are used in the team standings.
One RHS player was sent home before the tournament started because of a rules violation, leaving Riverton with no "throw-away" score.
"It was a really unbelievable situation for us," Flanagan said. "There were a couple of things that went well for us. Our kids stepped up to the challenge and played golf.
The weather was to our advantage on the first day. We just knew that we were going to play a lot better than the other teams because of the weather."
Riverton's team leader all season rose to the occasion at state, firing an opening-round 73 in strong winds and following with a 69 on Tuesday to win the individual championship by 11 strokes (see related story).
The freshman is ranked among the top juniors in the nation and has significant tournament experience around the U.S.
"The first day, I played pretty good in that weather," Dion said. "It was horrible weather. I just executed and played my own game. It wasn't going very long. I just made some putts."
Dion knocked in an 81 in the first day to create momentum for the Wolverines. The score put him fourth in the individual standings.
"I was very surprised to be fourth," Dion said.
Dion was put into one of the top groups for the final 18 holes, shooting 89 for a 170. "I just wasn't mentally tough" in the second round, Dion said.
The RHS freshman struggled on Monday when he put up a 91.
"It was my first state tournament, and my nerves got to me a little bit," Richardson said.
Richardson turned it around with a 77 on the second 18 holes for a two-day total of 168.
"My attitude toward the game changed," Richardson said. "I just played for the team on the second day."
The junior was a member of the RHS basketball team last year that placed second at the Class 4-A state tournament in Casper.
Riverton lost to Evanston in the title game after beating Gillette in the semifinals at the Casper Events Center.
"It has been a lot of fun for both," Quayle said. "I just hope that we can get one of these in basketball in the next two years."
Quayle improved nine strokes at the state tournament from the first day to the second.
"We take golf very seriously," Quayle said. "We knew what we had to do to get a win.
Quayle had rounds of 92 and 83 for his 175.
"It was pretty exciting. Not a lot of people get to win state championships. Winning one is really exciting."
The last state title for RHS was in football in 1999.
The RHS girls have nine state championships since 1977, covering basketball, volleyball and track, all in Class 4-A or its equivalent.
Results from Class 4-A state golf tournament held in Rock Springs
Boys Team standings
1. Riverton, 655; 2. Cheyenne East, 656; 3. Casper Kelly Walsh, 658; 4. Laramie, 667; 5. Cheyenne Central, 684; 6. Evanston, 687; 7. Gillette, 693; 8. Green River, 709; 9. Rock Springs, 710; 10. Casper Natrona, 722; 11. SHeridan, 723; 12. Cheyenne South, 755.
1. Easton Paxton, Riverton, 73-69--142; 2. Quintin Pope, Cheyenne East, 82-71--153; 3. John Murdock IV, Laramie, 78-78-156; 4. (tie) Logan Harrison, Cheyenne East, 83-76--159 and Nathan Green, Green River, 79-80--159; 6. (tie) Bryce Francois, Cheyenne Central, 88-72--160 and Brock Ehlers, Evanston, 85-75--160; 8. Corban Hill, Casper Kelly Walsh, 84-78--162; 9. Drew Petrie, Kelly Walsh, 84-79--163; 10. Robbie Harding, Laramie, 84-82--166.
Alec Richardson, 91-77--168; Jayd Dion, Riverton, 81-89--170; Chris Quayle, 92-83--175
1. (tie) Casper Natrona and Kelly Walsh, 588; 3. Evanston, 594; 4. Gillette, 625; 5. Laramie, 627; 6. Cheyenne Central, 631; 7. Cheyenne South, 642; 8. Cheyenne East, 654; 9. Rock Springs, 673,
1. Kalle Lunsford Evanston, 85-79--164; 2. Caitlyn Skavdahl, Casper Natrona, 92-78--170; 3. Bailee Watt, Kelly Walsh, 90-83--173; 4. Amanda Hinchey, Kelly Walsh, 99-92--181; 5. Kristin Day, Cheyenne South, 100-84--184; 6. Eryn Ellis, Casper Natrona, 106-81--187; 7. Jacquie Perdue, Laramie, 97-91--188; 8. Mariah Farden, Cheyenne East, 97-97--194; 9. Katie Wilson, Gillette, 98-97--195; 10. Katie Schultz, Cheyenne Central, 107-89--196.
Only Riverton score
Kendra Miller, 115-118--233