FAIRFIELD — As she walked up the final hill during the FCIAC girls golf championship, New Canaan’s Morgan Hibbert was avoiding eye contact. With everyone.
“Coming up the 18th fairway, I couldn’t look at anybody,” the Rams’ senior co-captain said. “I just had to stay in the zone.”
As it turns out, Hibbert and the rest of the Rams have been in a zone for three years now.
Hibbert shot a 76 and fellow senior co-captain Meghan Mitchell rode a great back nine to a score of 80, leading New Canaan to an FCIAC three-peat at the Fairchild Wheeler Black Course on Thursday.
“Not too many people can say they’ve won three FCIAC championships in a row,” New Canaan coach Priscilla Schulz said. “These girls did such a terrific job and a lot of that is because of the leadership of Meghan and Morgan.”
The Rams shot a team score of 329, dropping five strokes from last year’s winning score and winning the title by 17 over second-place Warde. The Mustangs, led by 79s from Jessica Nuzzaci and Bethany Fell, scored 346, with Greenwich was third with a 347. Staples (392) and Ridgefield (401) rounded out the FCIAC team qualifiers.
Mitchell, who was the FCIAC medalist as a junior, and Hibbert finish their high school careers as three-time conference champions, following a 15-0 regular season.
“I’m speechless again,” Mitchell said. “It was one thing to win the first time, and then the second time was great, but now it’s a third time, it’s surreal. It’s great that the underclassmen get to experience it with us.”
“I’m really happy that we helped build a program and that’s something I’m really proud of,” Hibbert said. “I played varsity softball freshman year and I’m so happy I made the switch the next year. A three peat — I would never have dreamt of this. It doesn’t get any better.”
Staples freshman Sophia Sarrazin earned medalist honors with a 73 in her first FCIAC championship.
“I felt good,” Sarrazin said. “I just tried to take out the thought that I wanted to win and just tried to shoot a good score. My putting was good today and I was getting on the greens in regulation, so that helped a lot.
“Even though I got one 8, I still managed to get a lot of birdies, so that was good.”
Sarrazin golfed in a threesome with Hibbert and Greenwich junior Sydney Nethercott and all three players shot in the 70s, finishing as the top three individuals.
Nethercott matched Hibbert’s 76 to finish in a tie for the runner-up spot.
“It was cool and we all played similarly,” Sarrazin said. “So we were all on the same level. It was fun and they were really nice to play with.”
New Canaan’s winning score also featured an 84 from Molly Mitchell and an 89 from Stirling Legge, while Julia Bazata shot a 97.
Warde was led by the 79s from the seniors Nuzzaci and Fell. Nuzzaci was the runner-up last year, while Fell has shown remarkable improvement after shooting a 116 two seasons ago.
For Greenwich, Nethercott’s 76 was followed by 89s from Sofia Ghorbel and Gracie Sunoo and a 93 from Jackie Intriere.
For New Canaan, the success of the past three seasons has much to do with the leadership of Mitchell and Hibbert.
“A lot started with Meghan and Morgan and we also had great leaders in the past with Tess (Piontkowski) and Lauren (Capone),” Schulz said. “When kids see that, they want to strive to be on the team and that helps the program. When you get leaders, great kids and great golfers like Meghan and Morgan, it makes it a lot of fun. They’re role models.”
“Freshman year, we were not expecting to make the FCIAC tournament and then we came back the following year and won it and kept that going for a third time,” Mitchell said. “I’m so happy that we were able to make this team flourish and I’m excited to see what happens in the future.”
FCIAC GIRLS GOLF CHAMPIONSHIP
at Fairchild Wheeler Black course, red tees, par 73.
NEW CANAAN (329): Morgan Hibbert 76, Meghan Mitchell 80, Molly Mitchell 84, Stirling Legge 89, Julia Bazata 97.
WARDE (346): Jessica Nuzzaci 79, Bethany Fell 79, Mia Gramesty 91, Sidney Falterer 97, Kailey Casl 101.
GREENWICH (347): Sydney Nethercott 76, Sofia Ghorbel 89, Gracie Sunoo 89, Jackie Intriere 93, Sarah Peng 114.
STAPLES (392): Sophia Sarrazin 73 (FCIAC Medalist), Claire Gordy 106, Lizzie Kuehndorf 106, Brianna Dwyer 107, Deniz Elden 110.
RIDGEFIELD (401): Alyssa Maiolo 86, Jenna Harford 102, Julia Knick 106, Cassie Smith 107, Maddie Wilson 108.
INDIVIDUAL QUALIFIERS: Ashley Amirsakis (Darien) 93, Phoebe Burtt (Ludlowe) 94, Meghan Lesko (Trumbull) 94, Jamie Andrade (St. Joseph) 96, Karli Williams (Wilton) 98, Oona Furey (Danbury) 108