Oklahoma Christian School’s girls golf roster put the state on watch for a potential Saints sweep of the small-school golf titles Thursday afternoon, after one of the youngest rosters in the history of state championship golf came home with the Class 2A girls golf State Championship.
Freshman Brooklyn Benn led the team with a runner-up individual finish, with four of the starting five bags being made up of first-year freshmen. In fact, all of OK Christian School’s starters will be returning for competition next season.
“Obviously, it’s awesome having Benn on our team, where she consistently scores well and leads our team,” Head coach Steve Ray said Thursday after the program’s first state championship. “But the real beauty is that we have four freshman on the team and they’ll all be back next year.”
Benn and Co. started what is a hopeful multi-year run by screaming up the boards in Thursday’s final rounds. Coming into the day, the Lady Saints sat outside of the podium, in fourth and three strokes behind the overall leader Reagent Prep. But, stoked by Benn’s runner-up final — and a top-15 finish from 2-bag Alex Peters — OCS ran it back to force a tie before ultimately taking the title in a playoff with Wednesday’s leaders.
The win helps establish the school as one of the most premier golfing academies in the state. With the boys already threatening to repeat their title at next week’s boys state tournament, the girls’ win -- alongside the bright future of the now-defending champs — only solidifies School’s prowess on the greens.
“Our school is already known for golf because we have such a good boys scene, but now we’ve got a talented girls team that’s been stepping up and has now won a state title,” Ray said. “It brings even more recognition to our school.”
Benn shot identical 73s during both of her two rounds during her runner-up final. Alex Peters shaved six strokes off in her second round to finish at 91-85, 176 overall.
The win means the world to the team, especially after the girls faced their fair share of adversity.
“This means everything to the team after what they’ve been through this year, from horrible field conditions, some of them playing multiple sports, and all while managing their incredible workload and studies,” Ray said. “They really came together and pulled it off as a team.”
It’s the first state title for Ray as a coach, and he was adamant that this was just the first step in a long list of future successes for his team and school.
“I’ve been lucky enough to watch this program grow each year, just from getting better and better to finally getting to culminate that with a state championship. It’s a blessing.”
Athletic Director Brandon Weaver reiterated the praise.
“This is an incredible accomplishment by such a young group of girls. What they’ve done under the guidance of Coach Ray is phenomenal,” Weaver said. “They played a very difficult schedule and didn’t win a single tournament, but that didn’t hold them back. They’ve represented our community in such a great way, and they have glorified God in the process. We are so proud of them.”
OK Christian School’s meteoric rise up the boards Thursday afternoon eclipsed an exceptional performance from the first-year program of Oklahoma Christian Academy. Championed by top-10 finishes from Rylei and Ramsey Gunter, the Lady Eagles sat poised in second place after Wednesday before falling to fourth overall during Thursday’s final round. Despite the rough second go, the team’s 380 first-round team score was still fourth best during the entire, two-day tournament.
Both Gunters scored better in the second round of the tournament, with Rylei bagging a 82-79 No. 5 161 overall, and Ramsey tallying a 86-84 into a No. 10 finish at 170.