By RICK PETERSON
Silver Lake's girls golf team completed its dominant 2023 season in grand style Tuesday, winning its first Class 3A-1A state championship by a whopping 22 strokes at Hesston Golf Course.
Silver Lake got second and fourth-place individual finishes from Klara Kleinig and Taylor Zordel on the way to a 701-723 margin over Colby.
"This is our first-ever state title as a program. The program started in 2001,'' Silver Lake coach Kelby Brown told KSHSAA Covered. "We've consistently competed at the state level, but we just haven't gotten to that next level. The last couple years we've been close.
"They have put themselves on the map. This means the world for us and for the school."
Kleinig, a foreign exchange student from Germany, shot back to back 80s to finish tied for the runnerup spot behind Wichita Collegiate's Margaret Ulrich, who won by six strokes at 154 (73-81).
"I've never played (a tournament) like this,'' Kleinig said. "It was just a great experience. I loved seeing the crowd watching on 18 and I love the team spirit and that so many people came to support us."
Eagle junior Taylor Zordel carded an 80 on Tuesday after opening with an 83 to earn her third straight state medal.
"We said that today's just another working day and we just need to do what we did yesterday,'' Zordel said. "There's no extra pressure. It's just another day at the office."
Zordel said it took awhile for what Silver Lake accomplished Tuesday to sink in.
"It didn't hit me until they were handing out the medals, but then it was like, 'Oh, my gosh! We just made school history.' It feels amazing," she said.
Kate Osterhaus tied for 25th place with a 36-hole total of 190 (99-91), while Kailyn Hanni finished 30th at 192 (98-94) and Madeline Fieger and Avri Broxterman tied for 34th at 195. Fieger had rounds of 96 and 99 while Broxterman carded rounds of 97 and 98.
"This field was loaded from start to finish," Brown said. "We knew it was going to take all six girls both days, and it did. We used a combination of all six between the two days to get it done.
"I'm just so proud of them. They're the most competitive group I've ever been around, the funnest group I've ever been around. They deserve everything they got today."