Glenwood Springs’ Stripp finishes fifth at Class 4A state girls golf tournament
GOLDEN, Colorado – The ear-to-ear grin worn by Glenwood Springs girls golf coach Kathy Whiting on Tuesday said it all.Her Demons had just wrapped up the school’s best-ever showing at the Class 4A state tournament.Led by junior Michelle Stripp’s two-round score of 164, a mark that netted her fifth place overall, Glenwood Springs took home a shiny plaque recognizing the team’s third-place overall finish.Only Colorado Academy (505) and Kent Denver (525) posted better team totals than the Demons’ 541.Both Stripp’s finish and the team’s finish were the best in the school’s girls golf history.The junior shot a 4-over-par 41 on a back nine on Tuesday that featured some clutch long putts.”I was able to hit straight and one-putt,” Stripp noted. “Almost everything was par.”That, after struggling out of the gate on the front nine with a double and two bogeys pushing her to four over after three holes.A par on Hole 4 seemed to turns things around for Stripp.”I knew once she hit that par that she’d be fine,” Whiting said.While Stripp hammered down the team’s top finish, senior Maggee Becker was a big reason why the Demons jumped from fifth in the team standings after Monday’s opening round to third on Tuesday.The veteran Demon, who graduates from high school this weekend, improved 11 strokes over the previous day by carding an 85. Becker, who teed off well before Stripp on Tuesday, caught Stripp’s final four or so holes. “It made me push harder, seeing her smiling face,” Stripp said. “I knew that if she was smiling, we had done well as a team.””My focus was better today,” Becker said of her second-day improvement. “I just relaxed more.”Junior Natasha Derby shot a 101 on Tuesday to round out Glenwood’s second-day score of 269, a mark three strokes better than what the Demons shot on Monday.Glenwood will return quite the team in 2009, losing only Becker to graduation and returning two state qualifiers in Stripp and Derby.Unfortunately for the Demons, though, Becker’s departure leaves quite the hole to fill.”We’re going to miss Maggee,” Whiting said of the even-mannered Demon, who only two weeks won the Western Slope Regional title. “Still waters do run pretty deep. Her effort shows it all. I’ve had a lot of girls put forth a lot of effort and Maggee is one of them. She’s done a good job as our captain. She sets a good example.”If Glenwood’s younger players heeded Becker’s example, Demon girls golf should remain a force in the in the years to come.Said Whiting, “We have a few girls itching to fill that spot.”
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Amid hundreds of cleat-footed little leaguers casually gathered along the first baseline, the glare of parents’ sunglasses deflecting the early morning sun, coach Troy Phillips began a trip down memory lane.