BACK ON TOP!!! - Lexington girls' golf reclaims Class 5A title in record fashion
Tears flowed from Lexington High School girls' golf coach Charles Smith eyes' for multiple reasons Tuesday.
His Lady Wildcats had reclaimed the SC High School League Class 5A title on their home course. In dethroning Blythewood, who ended their 3-year reign as Class 5A champion, they shot a state record 2-under-par 578 to win by 32 strokes.
The performance broke the previous record by 2 strokes set by the 2013 state champion Lexington High School team.
"I've been around a long time and I thought we were 1 of the 5-6 best teams that have ever been in our state," Smith said. "And, of course today, proved that."
There were nearly 2 state records re-broken by Lexington Tuesday. Molly Hardwick came within a stroke of breaking Lauren Stephenson's state record when she rallied to win top medalist honors with a score of 137.
Hardwick erased a 3-shot lead by Adrian Anderson by shooting a blistering 6-under-par 66 in the final round to claim top honors.
"She got hot at the right time and, of course, that kind of helped put us over the top," Smith said.
Hardwick said her play was boosted by the presence of Isabella Rawl, who missed last year's final last year while recovering from a back injury. She finished 2 strokes behind Hardwick to take 2nd place.
For the 2018 champion, her performance was a way of making up for her absence last year.
"Me not being there, me not being able to help really let me down, especially the team, so it was really hard to watch Blythewood win last year," Rawl said. "But, it just gave us the motivation we needed for this year. We were on our home course, so it was real exciting."
Defending state champion Karlee Vardee finished 6th and Emily Beiers ended up in 10th as all earned All-State honors.
While happy for the results, Smith was also saddened by the prospect of seeing the "end of a run" with the graduation of seniors Vardas and Beiers and departure of both Hardwicks.
"A little bittersweet," he said. "Losing 2 seniors and...Molly is going to transfer. Her dad got a job in Nashville, so we're going to lose Molly and her little sister (Ellie). So, a little bittersweet. I thought we'd be okay next year and we still will be. A little bittersweet to kind of have 4 seniors instead of the 2 we'd thought we'd have."