Rejoice Christian is the new Class 2A power in golf.
The private school from Owasso, competing in the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association for the first time, won the Class 2A state championship Tuesday at Sugar Creek Canyon in Hinton, while junior Justin Strathe won the individual title.
And the Eagles do not have a senior on their team.
“We should be better next year,” Strathe said.
Rejoice Christian also has some talented golfers in middle school, Eagles' golf coach Joyce Deason said.
“I think we will be in contention for a few years,” she said.
In addition, Katie-Lee Wilson of Rejoice Christian won the girls 2A title last week.
What might have been for Hinton
When three-time defending 2A champ Oklahoma Christian School was bumped to Class 3A this season, Hinton coach Greg George thought his Comets might win their first state championship in golf.
But then Rejoice Christian joined the OSSAA in Class 2A. The Comets finished two strokes behind the Eagles for the team title.
“We thought it was our year coming in. With OCS moving up, it was our chance,” George said. “Getting word of Rejoice Christian joining made it kind of tough. To compete against (private) schools, it's obvious, the bragging of the personal swing coaches that everyone has, it's a tough pill to swallow for public kids who don't get the same.”
Luther's Stults laments opening round
Ryan Stults of Luther finished as state runner-up, only two strokes behind Strathe.
An opening-round score of 77 on Monday doomed Stults.
“I am a little disappointed I didn't start better,” he said.
He bounced back with a 73 on Monday's second 18 holes to get within two strokes of Strathe heading into Tuesday's final round.
Stults shot an even-par 71 on Tuesday, but so did Strathe.
“Even par today was a pretty good round,” Stults said. “I did all I could do.”
The rounds of 71 by Stults and Strathe were the lowest scores in the tourney.
Seminole State College is recruiting Stults to play golf.