VERMILLION — The Vermillion Tanagers girls' golf team out-dueled a field that included defending state champion Parkston and perennial power Sioux Falls Christian to claim top honors in its home invitational, held Friday at The Bluffs Golf Course.
Sioux Falls Christian's Emma Wynja shot a 77, carding an even-par 36 on the front nine, to earn medalist honors. Canton's Kylie Gaughenbaugh finished second, one stroke off the pace.
The field included over a dozen teams from across southeast South Dakota.
"We knew we would have good competition today," said Vermillion head coach Kirk Hogen of the tournament. "It was a good representation of our people on this side of the state."
Vermillion finished at 357, four shots better than Sioux Falls Christian. Parkston, the 2009 state champions, finished third at 372.
"It's going to be a close race all the way through state. Those are two good teams, Parkston and Sioux Falls Christian," Hogen said. "But this sets the tone that we can compete."
For Vermillion, Kasey Nielsen led the way with an 85. Ellen Brown shot 90. Kristen Schwasinger and Allison Heine each shot 91. Kelly Nielsen shot 97 and Kelly Amundson carded a 102 to finish out the first six.
Winning an event like this on a home course may be more challenging than winning elsewhere because of the mental challenges, Hogen noted.
"A lot of times, it can be harder to win at home than away, just because you're expectations are higher," he said.
Vermillion also got a score of 399 out of its junior varsity team, a score that put them ahead of six teams.
"One of the hardest things we're going to have this year is deciding who will be our five to represent us at regions," Hogen said. "It's a difficult problem, but I'm not complaining. I wish we could play 10 versus 10."
Wynja got hot during the back half of her day, as she began her day on Hole No. 10. For the Chargers standout, a season-best score and a victory came by finding her stroke.
"My driver was staying straight on the fairway," she said. "I was putting pretty well, too."
With her first round under 80 for the season now under her belt, Wynja is hoping to keep things going for the rest of the season.
"Now I know I can shoot that low," she said. "Hopefully I can do it again some time."
TEAM SCORES: Vermillion 357, Sioux Falls Christian 361, Parkston 372, Dell Rapids 392, Dakota Valley 394, West Central 394, Vermillion JV 399, Harrisburg 402, Canton 406, Madison 407, Lennox 426, Elk Point-Jefferson 438, Beresford 516
TOP 10: Emma Wynja, S.F. Christian 77; Kylie Gaughenbaugh, Canton 78; Bri Tuenge, Harrisburg 81; Jordan Bormann, Parkston 84; Kasey Nielsen, Vermillion 85; Samantha Mogck, Parkston 86; Abby Perrenoud, S.F. Christian 88; Lexie Pierson, Dell Rapids 89; Ellen Brown, Vermillion 90; Kristen Schwasinger, Vermillion 91