Xavier Prep, Pinnacle High compete in High School Golf National Invitational

Xavier Prep, Pinnacle High compete in High School Golf National Invitational

To play in the High School Golf National Invitational means one thing: you are invited to play against the best golfers in the country. The invitational is made up of the best high school teams and individuals based on state championship performance.

Pinnacle High School and Xavier College Preparatory girls teams will represent Arizona in the invitational, which takes place June 23-25 at Pinehurst Resort in Pinehurst, North Carolina.

This is not unfamiliar territory to Pinnacle. As reigning champions, the Pioneers earned an exemption into this year’s tournament.

Pinnacle junior Carolyn Fuller said last year was really special and the team went into the invitational with no expectations of winning. This year, the team is focusing on making final memories together.

“Yes, we want to compete, but this is just a whole experience of its own and I think it is important to learn and embrace it,” Fuller said. “We are all so excited to be here all together one last time before everyone goes and starts a new chapter in their life.”

With the exception of Fuller, each team member of the top five is going to play collegiate golf in fall 2021: Kyla Wilde (Wyoming), Sydney Seigel (Tulsa), Lexi Pelle (Savannah College of Art and Design), Katie Stinchcomb (Memphis).

For this year’s invitational, the team designed custom hats with their nicknames and hashtags #lastdance and #pin4ever embroidered on them, referring to this being the last time they will play together as a team.

Xavier is no stranger to championships either, bringing home the school’s 37th state title in the 2020-21 season, which earned it an invitation to nationals.

However, the Gators have never made an appearance at nationals, and learning how to play the style of course at Pinehurst will be a challenge. Gators sophomore Kate Hauptman, who was third in the 2020-21 state championship, said everyone on the team has the capability to play well, concerns about the terrain notwithstanding.

We are obviously from Arizona and these courses are very different. We are just going to play how we usually do. … I think we have a good chance,” Hauptman said.

Junior Annie Dawson explained that the courses in Arizona are more wide open, and because they are so familiar with them, they know how to recover from shots that could cost them strokes. Pinehurst will confront both teams with challenges from the thicker rough, trees that line every fairway, and humidity.

Xavier and Pinnacle are separated by 14.5 miles of freeway and have become each other’s cheerleaders.

“I think that the teams are encouraging to each other and want each other to do well,” Dawson said. “Since we are both technically competing for team Arizona at nationals, we would both like to see the teams do well for Arizona.

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