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Three years, three titles for Mustangs

Despite having two players battling ailments, Mitchell tops River Ridge by 12 strokes at Hidden Creek.

By JAMAL THALJI, Times Staff Writer

© St. Petersburg Times, published October 23, 2002

Despite having two players battling ailments, Mitchell tops River Ridge by 12 strokes at Hidden Creek.

ZEPHYRHILLS -- Let's start with Mitchell senior Christina Beach, who had an adverse reaction to her medication playing in the afternoon sun. She shot 82 while ill, with a numb right hand, and wasn't in her team's top four.

Teammate Amanda Moore pulled out a sand wedge instead of a pitching wedge on her second shot at the par-4 No. 10 and carded a 7. But she went on to shoot two birdies and finished third overall at 67.

Katie Taylor had her injured left hand wrapped with a brace. She shot 79 anyway.

That's as close to adversity as the Mustangs came in Tuesday's Sunshine Athletic Conference tournament.

Mitchell's third-year program rolled to its third SAC title Tuesday at Hidden Creek, besting runner-up River Ridge by 12 strokes to remain unbeaten this season.

No surprise, Wesley Chapel sophomore Hana Young defended her crown as well, shooting 5-under 59 and collecting four birdies.

She did it despite taking a one-stroke penalty on a lateral water hazard at 18.

Once again Pasco County's championship was a warm-up for district play, which begins Monday. "It means a lot going into districts," said Beach, the Mustang dynasty's lone senior. "It gives us confidence."

Which meant the only bit of drama was in the first group, where Young fended off challenges from Moore and River Ridge's Heather Hagerman. The group started at No. 5. At No. 13 Young started to pull away from Hagerman, who finished runner-up at 62 with three birdies.

"Hana's putting was just awesome today," Mitchell coach Ray Cisbani said. "She was just putting so well."

Said Moore: "It was definitely a battle. If I didn't have one bad hole I'd be right up there."

The Mustangs shot a combined 296: freshman Ashley Aguilera had 70, Katie Taylor 79 and Victoria Cooper 80. Moore led her team, garnering its only birdies on No. 1 and 17 on the par 64, 3,500-yard course.

River Ridge's Stefanie Simon shot 69 to help the Knights take second. Mandy Mitchell shot 77 to help Pasco edge Land O'Lakes by eight strokes for third. Land O'Lakes' Mandi Yingling and Zephyrhills' Sarah Johnson both shot 76.

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