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Tears of pride: Navarro family tradition continues with Kapaun girls golf team title

Wichita eagle logo Wichita eagle 10/21/2020 By Taylor Eldridge, The Wichita Eagle

On the ride to Salina Municipal Golf Course on Monday for the first day of the Kansas Class 5A girls golf championships, Gary Navarro let it slip to his daughter that Salina was where he had won his state championship.

He couldn’t hold back the tears on Tuesday when he watched his daughter, Kapaun Mt. Carmel junior Eleanor Navarro, earn a state medal and help the Crusaders win their first team state title since 2016.

“Oh man, it was emotional,” Gary Navarro said. “The tears were flowing.”

“I’ve never seen him get like that,” said Eleanor, who shot a 36-hole total of 157 to finish tied for 12th overall. “It’s funny seeing him like that, but it was cool because I could see that he was super proud of us and super proud of me.”

To understand why Gary Navarro was so emotional, you first must understand how important the game of golf is to him and his family.

Gary’s father, Auggie Navarro, is a Wichita golf legend. He was one of 11 siblings who lived in a pair of box cars parked at Broadway and 29th Street. Auggie would hitchhike 11 miles to Crestview Country Club to work as a caddy, which paid 90 cents per 18 holes.

The members took a liking to Auggie and taught him the game. He proved to be a natural and soon developed into one of Wichita’s best golfers, winning the City Match Play, Medal Play and 4-ball titles all in the same year in 1956. He spent close to four decades as the golf pro at Sim Park and helped develop Wichita’s junior golf program before his death in 2012.

Auggie passed on his love for the game to Gary, who was a two-time individual state champion at North and an All-American at Wichita State. That tradition was continued with Gary passing down his passion for the game to his daughter, Eleanor, and all Gary could think about on Tuesday afternoon was how proud his father would be.

“When Eleanor was born, he got her up and going and grandpa helped her start golfing,” Gary Navarro said. “I know he would have really loved seeing her today. He would be so proud that she hung in there.”

While Eleanor Navarro was born into a family of great golfers, birdies aren’t handed out for your last name. She had to fall in love with the grind and put in the work on her own.

When she entered high school, she was rarely ever breaking 100 in a round. After a summer dedicated to working on her game, Eleanor Navarro was routinely cracking 80 as a junior this season. She shot rounds of 78 and 79 at the state tournament, which tied for Kapaun’s second-best score.

“It’s really cool to see myself improve every year and keep moving up higher on the varsity team,” Eleanor said. “My dad is my biggest fan. He’s helped me so much along the way and it’s awesome to have him there with me every time I’m playing.”

According to Kapaun coach Marie Thomas, Navarro exemplified Kapaun’s team makeup this season: hard-working and consistent. The Crusaders didn’t have anyone in contention for an individual title, but that didn’t matter because Alexa Garrett (ninth, 154), Navarro (11th, 157) and Abby Wolff (11th, 157) all delivered steady performances with seniors Riley Bryd (197) and Quynh-Thi Nguyen (219) rounding out the score.

Despite not having anyone finish higher than ninth, Kapaun was still able to pull away from Mill Valley on Tuesday to win the Class 5A team title by 7 strokes with a team score of 665.

“We had such a good bond this season and we all knew what we were capable of,” said Wolff, one of three seniors. “Everybody relied on each other and we knew that we all had each other’s backs. We just really wanted to finish on top because we had a lot of seniors on the team.”

Other Wichita area medalists included Andover’s Alivia Nguyen (fourth, 150), Andover Central’s Shauna Lee (sixth, 152), Andover’s Tiffany Chan (seventh, 153), Valley Center’s Mati Newman (seventh, 153), Maize’s Lexie Ridder (ninth, 154), Maize South’s Britney Wessley (11th, 155) and Bishop Carroll’s Keira Ronsick (14th, 159).

Class 4A tournament

Wellington senior Payton Ginter shot the low round in the field on Day 2 and the Winfield team also rallied from behind to win the individual and team Class 4A championships at Emporia Golf Course on Tuesday.

Ginter, a four-time state qualifier who finished tied for fourth at last year’s state tournament, carded a 5-over 71 on Tuesday, which tied for the lowest round on the day, for a 36-hole total of 158 strokes to beat out Concordia’s Abaigeal Donovan (159) by 1 and Winfield’s Elly Bertholf (160) by 2. Ginter entered the second day trailing Donovan by 3.

While Bertholf barely missed individual medalist honors, she did help Winfield win just its second team championship in program history and first since 2015. Winfield erased a 4-shot deficit to Wamego entering the second day to finish with a two-day total of 738 strokes, 6 better than Wamego and 11 better than Andale in third place.

Winfield had another medalist in Chaney Littell, who finished tied for 10th at 182. The other three members of the team were Savanna Nickum (197), Dalin Bartel (200) and Celine Mendoza (261).

Other medalists from the area included Andale’s Jaela Albers (fourth, 167), Buhler’s Lauren Specht (fifth, 172), Buhler’s Callie Cooper (14th, 184), Circle’s Mikayla Phillips and Circle’s Madison Michaelis (20th, 192).

Individual medalists from Class 6A and 3-1A tournament

There were no area teams that won trophies at the Class 6A tournament in Hesston or the Class 3-1A tournament in Cheney, but there were a handful of individual medalists.

In 6A, East’s Zoey Lee finished 13th at 169, while Cheney’s Jayln Turner (seventh, 188) and Halley Jones (12th, 194) and Garden Plain’s Jaycee Brown (18th, 200) were medalists in 3-1A.

Class 6A championships

at Hesston Golf Course (par 71)

Teams: 1. SM East 325-306—631; 2. BV West 346-347—693; 3. Olathe Northwest 351-350—701; 4. Lawrence Free State 360-344—704; 4. Blue Valley 359-345—704; 6. Manhattan 350-366—716; 7. Derby 396-365—761; 8. Dodge City 389-390—779; 9. Garden City 403-388—791.

Medalists: 1. Misemer, BV West, 74-70—144; 2. Roman, SM East, 74-75—149; 3. Neal, SM South 77-75—152; 4. Ha. Robinett, SM East, 83-73—156; 5. Ho. Robinett, SM East, 83-78—161; 5. Wood, Blue Valley, 83-78—161; 7. Berquist, Free State, 84-81—165; 8. Moore, BV North, 85-81—166; 9. Luttjohann, Washburn Rural, 84-83—167; 9. Meadows, Free State, 81-86—167; 9. Scott, Washburn Rural, 84-83—167.

Class 5A championships

at Salina Municipal Golf Course (par 70)

Teams: 1. Kapaun Mt. Carmel 331-334—665; 2. Mill Valley 331-341—672; 3. St. Thomas Aquinas 337-359—696; 4. Hays 354-347—701; 5. Andover 350-353—703; 6. Pittsburg 355-359—714; 6. Spring Hill 360-354—714; 8. Maize 357-363—720; 9. Salina South 365-372—737.

Medalists: 1. Green, Mill Valley, 69-74—143; 2. Grant, St. James, 73-72—145; 2. Maceli, Pittsburg, 70-75—145; 4. King, Aquinas, 72-78—150; 4. Nguyen, Andover, 77-73—150; 6. Lee, Andover Central, 79-73—152; 7. Chan, Andover, 78-75—153; 7. Newman, Valley Center, 76-77—153; 9. Garrett, Kapaun, 74-80—154; 9. Ridder, Maize, 81-73—154.

Class 4A championships

at Emporia Municipal Golf Course (par 71)

Teams: 1. Winfield 370-368—738; 2. Wamego 366-378—744; 3. Andale 387-362—749; 4. Buhler 374-377—751; 5. Anderson County 384-394—778; 6. Chanute 394-391—785; 7. Topeka Hayden 414-393—807; 8. Circle 402-413—815; 9. Concordia 422-420—842.

Medalists: 1. Ginter, Wellington, 82-76—158; 2. Donovan, Concordia, 79-80—159; 3. Bertholf, Winfield, 84-76—160; 4. Albers, Andale, 90-77—167; 5. Specht, Buhler, 87-85—172; 6. Chipman, Fort Scott, 87-87—174; 7. Kustanborter, Chanute, 85-92—177; 8. McKee, Wamego, 86-95—181; 8. Pierson, Wamego, 91-90—181; 10. Brusven, Tonganoxie, 95-87—182; 10. Littell, Winfield, 88-94—182.

Class 3-1A championships

at Cherry Oaks Golf Course (par 72)

Teams: 1. St. Mary’s Colgan 357-356—713; 2. Colby 375-360—735; 3. Cimarron 388-391—779; 4. Caney Valley 400-395—795; 5. Cheney 413-384—797; 6. Silver Lake 409-399—808; 7. Hoisington 412-415—827; 8. Santa Fe Trail 441-451—892; 9. Goodland 461-459—920.

Medalists: 1. Starbuck, Colby, 77-81—158; 2. Marquess, Plainville, 81-84—165; 3. Scripsick, Colgan, 86-86—172; 4. Root, Colgan, 88-88—176; 5. Ison, Colgan, 92-87—179; 6. Davenport, Osage City, 91-93—184; 6. Heger, Hugoton, 86-98—184; 8. Sims, Colby, 95-90—185; 9. Beykirch, Colgan, 91-95—186; 9. Herkelman, Cimarron, 97-89—186; 9. Lampe, Syracuse, 102-84—186.


©2020 The Wichita Eagle (Wichita, Kan.)

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