Friday, Oct. 17, 2003 | 10:19 a.m.
As the last group made its way down the 18th hole at Boulder Creek Golf Club during Thursday's Sunrise Regional, the sun set behind the distant McCullough Mountains, leaving golfers in near complete darkness as they completed their final putts.
But casting a shadow over the tournament through the whole day was a much bigger mountain to climb. With next week's 4A state tournament approaching, the teams were well aware of the 396 score Bishop Gorman shot Wednesday in the Sunset Regional.
Green Valley ran away with the team victory, shooting 447 and besting second-place Coronado by 49 strokes. Both teams will move on to Monday's state competition at Henderson's Tuscany Golf Club. Both teams were keenly aware of the score the Gaels put up the previous day.
"I'm not going to lie about it -- it's their tournament to lose," Gators coach Nick Garritano said after the tournament, not sounding like a coach whose team owns a national record winning streak. "I'm not doubting my players, but that's a hell of a score. I know our team can't shoot a 394."
Medaling in the competition was Coronado's Alex Gibson, who shot a 75. She said the darkness affected her play towards the end.
"It was hard to see the hole," she said. "I felt pretty confident (through the day), but not too confident."
Silverado's Chloe Nelson and Stephanie Bird shot 76 and 78, respectively. They, along with Valley's Kriston Chino and Chaparral's Sarah Chambers, will move on as individuals to the state tournament.
Green Valley's victory came in spite of its two best players shooting in the 80s. Nicole McGirr shot an 82, and Chelsea Pendleton came in with an 84.
"For both Nicole and Chelsea, I think they wish they had shot a little better," Garritano said. "I think they'll do real well at state, and I hope one will be in the running to win."
Gibson wasn't as daunted as Garritano by the low score Gorman put up Wednesday.
"I'll try to help my team out, and see what we can do on the course," she said. "We've played Tuscany and do pretty well there."
For Garritano, the important thing Thursday was repeating as champion.
"For us to come in and win our region by (49) strokes, it says a lot for our kids," Garritano said. "I'm just happy we won the Sunrise, and defended our championship."