SEELEY — The Manhattan Christian girls won their third consecutive Class C state golf tournament on Wednesday at Double Arrow Golf Course in Seeley, while the boys were led by individual champion Caidin Hill to a repeat crown.
The Manhattan Christian girls finished at 618 strokes, 31 in front of second-place Chinook. 2018 individual champion Jillian Frye finished runner-up to Ennis sophomore Landri Paladichuk. Paladichuk held a two-shot lead entering Wednesday’s final round, but she fired a second-round 85 to win by 12 strokes.
“Shooting a 40 on the back nine with a lead like that, that’s pretty impressive,” Ennis head coach Jordan Overstreet said. “She was dialed in. Her chip shots, even her save shots. She hit a couple trees, punched out and then hit great third, fourth shots. That really saved her, but shooting a 40 on the back nine,that was amazing.”
Frye struggled early on, allowing Paladichuk to jump out to a seven-shot lead at the turn. Paladichuk didn’t let off the gas, shooting a 4-over-par 40 on her final nine holes to ice the tournament.
“Honestly, I was just out there having fun. There were a lot of nerves, but I just had to stay focused and take every shot at a time,” Paladichuk said.
Manhattan Christian is the first girls team in Class C to win three consecutive state championships.
“It’s been a ton of fun. With (Frye) leading the pack, and then we had some younger girls that hadn’t played a ton of golf and just picked up the slack,” Manhattan Christian coach Tom Hubers said. “They learned on the way, stepped up when it came tournament time. They’ve just made it happen the last three years.”
“It’s something you don’t take for granted. We’re just proud of all these girls,” Manhattan Christian coach Jeff Bellach said. “We’ll never take for granted being on top. We’ll always enjoy it. It doesn’t always go the way you plan it. Definitely today wasn’t necessarily the way we planned it, especially with the girls that struggled a little bit. But the plan was to win, and we did.”
Hill, a Manhattan Christian sophomore, repeated as the boys individual champion. He fired a 2-over-par 74 on Tuesday to take a commanding nine-shot lead into Wednesday. Hill was never contested in the final round, as he shot an 81 for a two-day total of 155, 12 shots ahead of second-place Ryley Connor of Darby and Austin Popp of Park City.
Hill routinely played long irons off the tee box, something he and his coaches had game-planned entering the tournament.
“You just play it the exact same way. Just try to hit irons into the middle of the fairway, irons again into the middle of the green and two-putt and just try to go par after par. That was the key,” Hill said. “There’s nothing quite like winning state. It’s something that you always dream of and something that you work at and put a lot of time in, so it’s a very fulfilling feeling.”
Manhattan Christian cruised to the team title, as all four golfers posted rounds of 85 or better on Wednesday.
“The other boys weren’t overly happy with their rounds (Tuesday), so going into (Wednesday) we just said if everyone does better, possibly with the exception of Caidin, than yesterday, everything is going to be fine. And they all did it,” Hubers said.