TIMNATH — Loveland's Lauren Lehigh and Fossil Ridge have been crowned champions at the Class 5A girls golf state tournament following the cancellation of the second round.
Due to overnight snow that left the course at Harmony unplayable, the first-round results are now considered final. Lehigh (2-under par) and Fossil Ridge team (9-over) are state champions. Loveland was runner-up as a team.
"I'm ecstatic. It's almost surreal," Lehigh, the New Mexico commit, said Tuesday morning. "We went out yesterday knowing this (cancellation of Round 2) could happen, but to actually be here, being a state champion, and have the runner-up trophy with the team, it's amazing.
"I would have loved to play obviously, but I'm happy with the results. When I found out, I was jumping around the hotel parking lot. It's been incredible. Playing some amazing golf, making great friends with the girls in 5A, the girls in 4A [Loveland was in 4A before this season], it's been amazing."
Edging out Broomfield junior Meghan Vogt (1-under), Lehigh wasn't the only one to pull out the close victory. Fossil Ridge defeated Loveland to win their first state title in school history by one stroke.
"It's a real mixture of emotions," Fossil Ridge Andy Stevens said. "We would have liked to have played 36 holes and had a complete championship but that being said, our girls played a hell of a round yesterday an earned this title. We were battling all day with Loveland neck-and-neck, and we were fortunate they were ahead of us (in completing the round), so we knew the score we needed to beat."
In his eighth year with the program, Stevens clinched his second title this school year after also winning the 5A state title as the boy's golf coach in the fall.
"We wanted our girls to just take it a shot at a time and not think about what-ifs and things of that nature," Stevens said. "My staff and I were thinking [there may not be a round on Tuesday]. As a staff, we were strategizing on 18, and we did encourage the girls to play aggressively.
"We didn't try to do anything that we haven't talked about in practice rounds and things that we hadn't already discussed. Eighteen is a reachable par-5 for all of our girls, and that was really the goal, to take advantage of those scoring opportunities."
Played the same tournament in Loveland five years ago, the weather also shortened the event to one day. Both Lehigh and Fossil Ridge fought through the elements, and it was worth their while.
"I'm so proud of the girls in the way that they battled in brutal conditions yesterday," Stevens said. "The weather was terrible, and my hats are off to them in getting the job done."
Cherry Creek placed third as a team at +14, Arapahoe (+20) was fourth and Rock Canyon (+21) was fifth.
Individually, Regis Jesuit's Katie Berrian (+1) placed third, while Fossil Ridge was paced by Olivia Steen (+2, fourth place) and Leigha Devine (+3, fifth place).