Togetherness spurs Sioux Falls Christian’s girls’ golf team to fourth consecutive state title

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Sioux Falls Christian’s girls golf team won their fourth consecutive state title on Tuesday, June 4, 2024.

Round one of the Class A girls golf state tournament went about as well as it could have for Sioux Falls Christian. After day one the Chargers held a 21-stroke lead over Vermillion and sophomore Tori Peterson was tied for first.

“It brought a lot of confidence for us,” Sioux Falls Christian senior Cecilia VanDenTop said. “The second day we knew we could just play our own game and just go out there and end it with a bang.”

Sioux Falls Christian girls’ golf coach Steve Van’t Hul knew the perils of entering round two feeling overconfident after compiling such a great score. In their daily debrief before heading out for the day, Hul told his team to stay motivated and invested. All it would take is one bad day on the course to turn the tournament back into a close contest.

But that bad day never came.

The Chargers entered round two with a sense of calm and comfort. Peterson tied for second place shooting 12 over par in the two-day tournament while VanDenTop finished fourth.

“(I was) extremely proud of the girls,” Van’t Hul said. “It was exciting to see the girls put two days back to back and just (see) those things that they’ve worked so hard for come to be at the state tournament.”

The state title is the fourth consecutive that Sioux Falls Christian has won, the third consecutive since Van’t Hul took the helm.

Peterson and VanDenTop credited the team environment as a significant factor in the Chargers’ sustained success over the past four years. Improving their game together and placing an emphasis on trying to enjoy themselves while spending long hours in practice and in tournaments together has forged a special connection. The team’s camaraderie was cultivated one practice, one tournament, and one long van ride home at a time.

“I think keeping a good team environment (has helped create the sustained success.) We all are really close, and just constantly putting in the effort and the work throughout the season and throughout the whole year (helps),” VanDenTop said. “Golf is a year-long sport. It’s not just seasonal.”

Despite being known predominantly as more of an individual sport, Peterson said her team loves winning together, and consistently pushes and encourages each other to do better.

That togetherness showed itself on the scoresheet on multiple occasions throughout the season. When a Sioux Falls Christian golfer had a bad day, more than likely one of their teammates had a great showing, bringing balance to the team scorecard.

VanDenTop will continue playing golf at the University of Sioux Falls next year but will always hold her time with the Sioux Falls Christian team close to her heart.

“It’s meant a lot to me,” she said. “It’s got me to where I am today … I’ve had a lot of good mentors throughout the years. The older people have always been a good inspiration for me to become a better person, a better golfer, and make sure my faith is resembled and shown when I play the game.”

Jonathan Fernandez covers high school and college sports for the Argus Leader. Contact him at Follow him on Twitter at@JFERN31

This article originally appeared on Sioux Falls Argus Leader: Togetherness spurs Chargers to fourth consecutive state title

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