Zuniga places fourth at Class 5A state tournament
By Jeff Harrison
Midwest City Beacon
Kamryn Zuniga wasn’t quite sure about the situation as she stepped on the No. 18 tee box at Dornick Hills Country Club.
Carl Albert had started the day with a five-stroke lead over Duncan in the Class 5A state championship. But she didn’t know if that was still the case.
“I had no clue when I got to No. 18,” she said. “I knew I needed to push through and do my best on my last hole.”
Zuniga’s tee shot landed in a muddy spot near a tree, but she recovered with a solid chip shot. She finished the hole with a 1 ½ foot putt for bogey.
That putt was just enough to give the Carl Albert girls the state title. It was their first in school history.
“It was so surreal walking up on No. 18 for my last hole and then finishing that last putt and running to the team,” she said.
Carl Albert won the 5A state championship with a 659, finishing one stroke ahead of Duncan in the 36-hole tournament. Bishop Kelley was third with 678 followed by two-time defending state champion Durant (687).
Zuniga finished fourth overall with a 159. The senior opened with a 73 in the first round and shot 86 on Thursday.
Rylan Ashley played through a broken wrist to shoot a 79 on Thursday and finished seventh with a 165. Peyton Black was eighth at 166. Miah Luong shot a 169 and Ily Strickland had a 208.
Duncan’s JJ Gregston won the tournament with an even 140. Natalie Blonien, of Altus, was runner-up with 149 followed by Peyton Coburn, of Bishop Kelley, at 154 and Zuniga with 159.
Ashley missed regionals with the injury and thought her high school career was over. Her doctor told her that she could return for the state tournament if she could play through the pain. Ashley said she cried “happy tears” after hearing the news and fought through the pain at state.
“My hand was numb for most of the time, but I just had so much adrenaline going and wanted to finish my final season strong,” Ashley said.
Ashley started off the first round with a double bogey but was more confident on day two.
“I shot 86 yesterday and said I was going to shoot in the 70s today and I did,” Ashley said after the state tournament on Thursday. “I’m really proud of how I played and really proud of how our team did.”
The Lady Titans were state runner-up in 2021 and finished third last season.
“It’s a surreal feeling to win state. It feels like just yesterday we started practicing for the season,” Zuniga said. “It feels so good because our team has worked hard for this, and we deserved it.”