LOVELAND — Gillian Vance woke up on Tuesday to the news that she had won the Class 5A girls golf state championship.
Vance, a senior at Dakota Ridge, found out from her coach that the second day of the tournament was canceled when overnight and continuing rain left the Old Course unplayable on Tuesday. It meant that the scores from the first day held up as final — and Vance, at 4-under, had the top score.
"I'm still kind of shocked. It hasn't quite hit me yet. I'm sure it will," Vance said on Tuesday morning. "My coach called me and said, 'You're a state 5A champion!' I was like, 'What?'"
Vance was hoping to play a second day, but had prepared herself for the cancellation. It was announced on Sunday night that a one-day tournament was a possibility. As a result, she attacked the course on Monday.
"I definitely wanted to play a little aggressive (Monday)," Vance said. "I just wanted to go out with a bang. That's what I tried to do. I just kind of went for it."
Vance's 68 edged out Regis Jesuit senior Sydney Gillespie, who shot a 2-under 70 on Monday. Grandview's Morgan Sahm, Rock Canyon's Alexis Chan and Ralston Valley's Ashlyn Kirschner all tied for third at 1-over 73. (Find complete results here.)
Vance finished tied for 25th as a freshman, tied for ninth as a sophomore and in a tie for 14th last season. After all being in contention all three years, she finally broke through to the top.
"It's always been, I qualify for this tournament and I have such high hopes — but then I don't do my best," Vance said. "It's prepared me so much the last three years, and I definitely knew what to expect (this season). So I just wanted to put up a good number and have fun, not to put too much pressure on myself like I did the years before. I just had a lot of fun."
Gillespie's day led three Regis Jesuit golfers who finished in the top 10. The result was that the Raiders repeated as team champion with a 5-over 221. Rock Canyon (+18) was second.
Gillespie, like Vance and many other golfers, was hoping for a shot at playing a second day.
"I put myself in a good position (Monday), so not being able to play is a little disappointing," she said. "But then again, 70 is nothing to be disappointed at."
Gillespie had to hurry away from the course on Monday to be back in Aurora in time to graduate.
"It was just crazy," she said. "But it was a lot of fun, I enjoyed it. And I wouldn't have it any other way."
Regis Jesuit has now won three championships in four seasons, having also won 4A in 2012. The Raiders' Mary Weinstein (+3, 74) and Jaclyn Murray (+4, 76) were the other top-10 finishers. Ali Timlin also shot a 95.
"We're really proud of that, and two in a row is really special," said Regis Jesuit coach George Miller. "The secret is we have some amazing kids. We have three girls where each one of them could win a tournament on a given day. And they did. Each won a league tournament as an individual.
"I've never had anywhere near that. To put three kids together who can all shoot 75 on a given day, you've got a pretty good chance."