With a simple putt, four years of emotion flooded down the cheeks of Elkhorn South senior Megan Whittaker.
The putt — even though it was for a double bogey on the par-5 18th hole at the Norfolk Country Club on Tuesday — sealed her second-straight Class A state championship as well as her fourth state medal while also securing the team title for the Storm.
“This is really special,” Whittaker said while fighting back tears. “We’ve worked really hard all year. To come out on top is fantastic.”
Elkhorn South shot a 723 to defeat runner-up Lincoln Southwest by 22 strokes. Grand Island was third at 761, while Norfolk cut 21 strokes off its first-day score to place 10th with an 831.
For Whittaker, the double bogey on 18 was her highest-scoring second-day hole. After carding an 80 on a rainy, windy and chilly opening day, she shot a 78 Tuesday to pull away from the field with a 158.
Peyton Savington of Papillion-La Vista finished second with a 168. Savington shot an 82 on Monday but couldn’t keep pace with Whittaker on Tuesday, with the sun coming out from behind the clouds shortly before the turn.
“Today I was really playing for the team. I was able to find a couple more birdies on the back nine and just keep fighting for those girls who have pushed me all year,” Whittaker said. “My tee shots were great, and I was making a lot of five- and eight-foot putts, which really helped.”
As a freshman, Whittaker shot a 175 that was good for second place and helped the Storm claim the team championship. She finished in a tie for ninth with a 176 as a sophomore before carding a 156 last year for gold.
“This is a perfect ending,” Whittaker said. “I’d set the goal last year that I wanted to do it again, so I worked really hard throughout the year. It doesn’t get any better. It was a perfect way to end.”
Behind Savington, North Platte freshman Baylee Steel placed third with a 172. Jalea Culliver of Omaha Marian and Alyssa Troudt of Kearney rounded out the top five at 174.
Norfolk’s finish was led by freshman Kylie Ehnes-Blume. The only Panther who didn’t shave strokes Tuesday, Ehnes-Blume matched her opening-round score of 97 for a two-day total of 194.
Sophomore Leah Vanderheiden followed with a 206, with senior Josie Lewis carding a 210. Junior Celeste Gansebom finished with a two-day score of 223, and senior Hannah Carhart finished with a 227.