American Heritage School’s girls golf team won its third state title in four years – and a state-best ninth overall – during the Class 2A state championship, held Oct. 27-28 in Howey-in-the-Hills.
The Patriots had quite a haul at Mission Inn Resort as juniors Kelly Shanahan (girls) and Luke Clanton (boys) each won individual titles and the boys were runner-up for the eighth time.
“I just think it is the team effort, everybody buys into the team,” girls coach Mike Carlin said of the program’s dominance at state. “It’s not individuals who go out and say we have to play as ourselves and whatever the outcome of the team will be. They sacrifice themselves for the team and that is what the outcome will be.
“They are willing to give up a stroke and play for the team, rather than go for something if they were playing for themselves as an individual.”
Shanahan drained a 40-foot putt on the first hole of a playoff to win medalist honors. She started the day tied with Spoto High School’s Sabree Lefebvre after carding 71s and finished the day with a 69 and won on the first playoff hole.
“It doesn’t compare to anything I have ever done before,” Shanahan said. “It is the first time I have won a tournament of this size. This means everything. This is incredible.”
Shanahan’s win also gave the Patriots the most individual wins by a school at six, breaking a tie with St. Andrew’s School. It also was the third individual title for an American Heritage golfer in the past four years, joining Jillian Bourdage (2017) and Casey Weidenfeld (2018).
The Patriots’ Katherine Schaefer carded a two-total of 151 to finish sixth as American Heritage shot 306 the second day to finish at 629 and win by 20 shots over McKeel High School. McKeel led by a shot after the first day.
Archbishop McCarthy’s Isabella Bailly finished 14th individually with a 154 and helped the defending state champion Mavericks finish third at 656. North Broward Prep was 16th overall. Cardinal Gibbons’ Kaylee Ehret carded a 156 to finish 12th overall.
Clanton, who was medalist in 2018 and finished second last year, recorded five birdies on the back nine en route to 7-under-par, 65, and won the Class 2A state championship. His two-day 139 was six shots better than Ponte Vedra’s Scotty Kennon.
Clanton, a junior who has committed to Florida State, birdied two of the final four holes, including a 15-footer for birdie on the 18th, to help the Patriots shoot 597, but they fell to four-time defending state champion Ponte Vedra on the first playoff hole.
“On 15, I knew we were getting pretty close and I would have to make a couple coming in to get us into a playoff,” said Clanton, whose team battled back from
8 shots down after nine holes on the first day to force a playoff. “We lost in the playoff, but we fought our hearts out.
“I wanted to win more as a team than an individual,” said Clanton, whose 65 was one shot off his career best. “We worked our tails off the last couple of months and to come up short like that is kind of crazy.”
American Heritage, which last won a boys’ state title in 2016, also received solid performances from Jackson Kustin (151, seventh) and Sebastian Sacristan (153, T11). Since 2012, either Ponte Vedra or American Heritage has won the state title. The Patriots won in 2012, 2014, and 2016 and finished runner-up eight times.
“Honestly, I didn’t even think we were going to have a season, so I didn’t even have a schedule,” said American Heritage boys coach Brandt Moser. “We didn’t get our uniforms until the third week of playing. We were wearing last year’s stuff.
“These kids gave up a lot to do this and they fought hard. They had a great year. They just didn’t finish it there at the end.”
Archbishop McCarthy (657) and North Broward Prep (658) boys teams finished fifth and sixth, respectively, in 2A. Brett White (154, 17th) led the Mavericks. Sean Richards (157, 27th) paced the Eagles.
In the Class 3A boys tournament, St. Thomas Aquinas shot 329-338 for a 667 total to finish 12th, led by Brett Moore (162, 48th). Erin Marcelino (164, 42nd) led the Aquinas girls.
In Class 1A, Oxbridge Academy’s boys shot 630 and placed fifth, the best finish in school history. Tyler Stachkunas (150, seventh) and Rafe Cochran (154, T18) led the charge.
“The team had an incredible year,” Oxbridge coach Dan McLellan said. “Just being able to get to the state finals was amazing in itself, but to finish fifth this year is something they will never forget.”
St. Andrews’ Justin Ross led the Scots to a 13th-place team finish with a 155, which was good enough for a 22nd place on 667. Benjamin’s boys (645) wound up 10th in Class 1A.
Sagemont’s girls, who start three middle schoolers and two high schoolers, took fourth (on 614) for the second consecutive year. Eighth-grader Layla Pedrique (149, 16th), eighth-grader Ariana Silva (150, 20th) and freshman Rachel Gomez (152, 28th) led.
St. Andrews junior Amelie Alcantara was within striking distance of medalist honors after carding a 3-under 69 on the first day. She slid to a 77 and finished 10th. The Scots finished fifth this year on 637, falling back from fourth last season.
“We were trying to improve our position from last year,” coach Pam Elders said. “We kind of fell short the last day. Any time you finish in the top five is exciting.”
The Columbus High boys provided Miami-Dade with its highest team finish, placing eighth in 3A. Hans Risvaer (80-74–154) led the Explorers, followed by Andres Atrio (78-78-156).
The County’s top individual finisher in 3A was Doral Academy’s Tomas Borquez (152, 18th). The team finished 13th.
In Boys’ 2A, Belen Jesuit took 10th, led by eighth-grader Lorenzo Rodriguez (78-76–154, 18th).
In Boys 1A, Gulliver Prep finished 14th and was led by Alexander Dalmau (79-76–155, 23rd).
In Girls 3A, Doral Academy took ninth on 667 total and was led by Giuliana Gomez (67-81–148, 12th).
In Girls’ 1A, Palmer Trinity took 12th, led by Remi Bacardi (72-82—154, 29th). Carrollton placed 15th, led by Carolina Swain (169, 57th).
Miami Country Day’s Alex Pool was the top-finishing Dade girl in 1A, her 76-73–149 earning 16th place.
No schools from Martin or St. Lucie counties qualified for states but a good number qualified as individuals and one – Angelica Holman of Lincoln Park Academy – brought home a state title.
Holman, a junior, shot 70-68–138 to win by a stroke. She had finished fifth at states last year.
“Hopefully next year I can do the same thing in my senior year,” she told Treasure Coast Newspapers.
The Pine School was represented by Andie Smith (143, fourth) and Brianna Castaldi (150, 20th)
In 2A Girls, Port St. Lucie’s Zoey Iglesias (150, third) led the way, followed by Jensen Beach’s Angelina Quinn (173, 41st).
Quinn’s teammate on the boys’ side, Jack Stracuzzi, shot 86-76–162 and finished 38th.
In 1A, Casey Morton of the Pine School finished 72nd on 83-91–174.
Bill Van Smith contributed to this report.