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By Henry A. Barrios / The Californian
BY ZACH EWING Californian staff writer firstname.lastname@example.org
As area golf championships go, Monday's at Haggerty-North Kern Golf Course had very little drama -- at least until Stockdale's girls tried to get a championship photo together.
The Mustangs wanted to jump in unison, but the digital cameras used by parents weren't capturing all six of them in mid-air. The procedure took five tries -- easily the biggest challenge of the day for the best team in the area.
Stockdale shot 423, a whopping 62 strokes better than anyone else at North Kern, and Mustangs senior Kaley In successfully defended her area title with a 1-over-par 73, four strokes better than the runners-up, Bakersfield Christian's Julia Stewart and Liberty's Mallory Wells.
"Defending my title is nice, and so is winning as a team," In said. "I just wanted to play well individually, and I knew that would help the team out."
In's round started choppy, but she carded pars on 13 of the remaining 15 holes and had herself a second area title.
"I didn't make very many putts," In said. "I just kind of hung in there."
The highlight came on No. 11, when In's tee shot went into the trees, but she then hit a wonderful iron from about 100 yards that landed within a foot of the cup.
That kind of grinding round exemplified Stockdale's day as a team. A bee camped out in Briana Garcia's glove and stung her early in the round, but she played through even as the sting swelled, finishing with a 91. Allie Wilson, the Mustangs' No. 6 player, only picked up the game earlier this year and shot 92.
Stockdale's Jessica Park shot 81 to finish seventh, and Sammie Ramkey shot 86.
"We wanted to play well today, and we did a good job," Stockdale coach Shannon Nieblas said. "I was happy."
Now Stockdale, which finished a stroke behind Clovis West for the Central Section team title last year, will have another shot at the program's first championship.
"Our last league match was Thursday, so I told them Friday it's a new season," Nieblas said. "I think last year was the first taste at being that competitive for most of them, so they got a taste of it."
Wells, who started on No. 3, also was 1-over as she came to the 16th tee. But she bogeyed four of her last five holes to fall into a second-place tie with Stewart.
The section team championships are set for Monday at Mifflin-Buena Vista. Joining Stockdale and Garces, the Division I runner-up, will be Division II champion Bakersfield, which shot 485 to hold off Bakersfield Christian and its 488.
Laurynn Maiocco, a sophomore, shot a season-best 83 to lead the Drillers, who had to wait for the final Eagles score to come in before they knew they had won.
"I was very nervous," Maiocco said. "That was anxiety right there. We have a lot of seniors, and we want to finish the year with a bang."
The top 15 individuals -- anyone who shot 90 or below, as it turned out -- qualified for the section individual championships Oct. 29 in Hanford.