WESLEY CHAPEL — Zephyrhills finally got over the hump, yet still had to squeeze its way in there.
At the Class A, District 9 golf tournament at Saddlebrook Resort on Tuesday afternoon, the Bulldogs, in the midst of their best season, took home a runnerup trophy for the first time, edging Crystal River 444-450.
"This is the first time we've been able to take a trophy home, so we're just kicking about that," fifth-year coach Rich Green said. "It's really been tough with us to break through into the next level, and this is the best team we've ever had at Zephyrhills, yet we're still a tier below Citrus and Saddlebrook. But we're getting a lot better."
Zephyrhills went 10-1 this season and for the fourth time in five years advanced to regionals. The Bulldogs' top shooter was Sarah Baniszewski with 99. Saddlebrook, however, had two of the three top golfers advancing. Ankita Tiwana and Lauren Riehle shot 73 and 81, respectively, while Hernando's Lauren Shuford placed second with 79.
"I definitely pushed myself because it was really hard, but I was surprised I got a 79," Shuford said. "It could it have been a lot better. I haven't been shooting real well this year, but I'm happy with a second-place finish and glad to be moving on."
Citrus took the district crown with 351, while Saddlebrook, fielding a team of only three, finished with 297.
"Thank goodness Saddlebrook only had three golfers," Green said. "We've been a perpetual third since I've been here, but the girls played really well this year and it's really been as a team."
Team scores: Citrus 351 (Brianna Carlson 76, Ashton Connor 85, Lauren Brooke 88), Zephyrhills 444 (Sarah Baniszewski 99, Lauren McLeod 100, Taylor Brady 120), Crystal River 450 (Kourtney Camp 108, Madhuri Shukla 112, Samantha Korsiak 114), South Sumter 464, Hernando 474, Wiregrass 497, Pasco 541, Nature Coast 561, Sunlake 597. Top 3 individuals (not on top 3 teams): Ankita Tiwana, Saddlebrook, (73); Lauren Shuford, Hernando, (79), Lauren Riehle, Saddlebrook, (81)