After winning their region for the fourth consecutive year and placing second in the state tournament in 2011 and ’12, the Lambert girls golf team was poised to take the next step.
The Lady Longhorns pulled away from the competition Monday at Sunset Country Club in Moultrie en route to the program’s first Class 6A state championship.
Lambert’s team score of 220 topped second-place finisher and defending champion Milton by five strokes and third-place Colquitt County by 25.
Lambert’s team score was the best in any girls state classification and marked the first time a Forsyth County school has captured a girls golf title.
“The girls had been preparing all year to get down there,” said Lambert head coach Joel Posey. “Since the end of last year they were prepared. They were ready to do it. They’re just an unbelievable team.
“I was excited for them to get down there and show how well they can shoot. At any given day, anyone can shoot the low score. They love to play golf and compete and are just great teammates.”
Freshman Kayley Marschke, who finished tied for third in the individual score, shot a 73, while senior Sloan Shanahan tied for seventh with 76 and freshman Lauren Lightfritz carded a 79.
Only the top three scores from each team counted toward the overall finish.
Owen, whose father Jim is the golf coach at Oglethorpe University in Atlanta, tied Milton’s Kayla Jones for low medalist, but edged her in a one-hole playoff.
Jones made it on the green, but had to settle for bogey after missing two puts, while Owen rebounded after missing the green to par the hole.
“It means a lot to get [low medalist] and for us to win,” Owen said. “I was just able to hit the greens. Everyone did their best.
“We felt like we had to win it for [senior] Sloan. We wanted to send her out on a win.”
Added Posey: “[Owen] played absolutely great. After the turn, she was one-under and I knew she was going to shoot low. She was focused. She shot all over the pin.”
Marschke said any doubts she may have had about how well the team would perform quickly faded after play started.
“In the beginning, I really didn’t know if we could do it or not,” Marschke said. “It was exciting. We didn’t know we’d won until they announced it.
“I was a little surprised. It was an amazing feeling. We all wanted to win it. It was just jaw-dropping [after the announcement].”
The Lady Longhorns are strong candidates to defend their title in 2014, as they lose just one senior, Shanahan, who competed at the state tournament.
“I’m fully confident they’ll be ready to go [next season],” Posey said. “Sloan was a leader and will leave big shoes to fill, but we finally broke the ice.”
In the boys tournament, Lambert tied for sixth with a team score of 303, while Norcross claimed first at 294. Harry Lambert paced the Longhorns with a 74.