Eventful Finales

Erie’s Logan Hale caps high school career with 16-shot win in 4A state tourney; she joins Valor’s Brenna Higgins (5A) in repeating as state champ; Prospect Ridge’s Hope Torres denies Maddy Bante a 3-peat

By Gary Baines – 5/21/2024

The Colorado girls state high school golf tournaments were held this week for the 34th time, and the impressive accomplishments in the latest edition were befitting the first state champion, Colorado Golf Hall of Famer Jill McGill, who has gone on to win three USGA national championships. 

Let’s count the ways these tournaments set themselves apart:

— Erie senior Logan Hale, a University of Denver signee, won the 4A title on Tuesday by what very well may be a record margin for any Colorado girls state high school golf tournament, prevailing by an ever-so-sweet 16 strokes. Jennifer Kupcho, now the owner of three LPGA Tour victories, won by 14 in the 4A meet in 2014.

— For the first time since the girls state tournaments went to more than one classification in 2001, two golfers won consecutive state titles in the same years: Brenna Higgins of Valor Christian (5A) and Hale (4A). Meanwhile, two-time defending 3A champ Maddy Bante of St. Mary’s Academy almost made it 3-for-3, but lost in a playoff.

Higgins and Hale become the 12th and 13th girls to capture two or more individual championships in the event. For the record, one of the others is Kupcho (2014 and ’15).

— And Bante came ever so close to becoming just the fourth golfer from Colorado — female or male — to claim three state high school individual titles. But Prospect Ridge Academy junior Hope Torres rallied to catch Bante on Tuesday, then beat her in a playoff for the championship. Had Bante won, she would have joined Lynn Ann Moretto of Cherry Creek (state titles in 1995, ’96 and ’97, all in a single classification); Ashley Tait of Mullen (2002, ’04 and ’05 in 4A); and Hailey Schalk of Holy Family (2017 and ’18 in 3A and ’19 in 4A) in the three-timers club. 

Yes, all in all it was an eventful Tuesday as the three girls state tournaments concluded.

Here are how things went down in the 36-hole events that wrapped up the 2024 season:

— Class 4A at the CC of Colorado in Colorado Springs: Hale, who grew up being a member at the Country Club of Colorado and has played the course more than 100 times — looked like a very good player with a big “home” advantage at this tournament. Her 16-shot victory on Tuesday came on the heels of her eight-stroke win in last year’s 4A state meet. Hale was the only Coloradan to qualify for the U.S. Girls’ Junior that was played last year at the Air Force Academy.

Hale backed up her stellar 4-under-par 67 opening round with a 4-over 75 on Tuesday, leaving her with an even-par total. Her second round was highlighted by an eagle on the 473-yard, par-5 second hole; in addition to that, she carded 11 pars and six bogeys.

To put Hale’s scoring into perspective, just seven rounds under 80 were posted at the 4A tournament, and Hale went 67-75.

Junior teammate Hadley Ashton of Erie, the 2022 state champion who has verbally committed to the University of Wisconsin starting in the fall of 2025, finished 4A runner-up to Hale for the second straight year. Ashton shared second place this time with Windsor junior Macy Kleve. Ashton and Hale teamed up to compete in the U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball earlier this month.

Erie made a mockery of the team competition, cruising to a third straight 4A championship. This time, the Tigers’ margin of victory was a whopping 60 strokes, with Holy Family placing second and Steamboat Springs third.

Joining Hale and Ashton on the 4A state-championship team were junior Taylor Hale (Logan’s younger sister, fifth place) and senior Hollyn Drennen (45th place).

— 5A at Broadlands GC in Broomfield: A year after Higgins prevailed in a playoff for the 5A crown, the now-junior claimed a six-stroke victory on Tuesday. Higgins trailed fellow junior Ashleigh Wilson of Rock Canyon by one going into the final day, but pulled ahead — and stayed ahead — thanks to a blemish-free round 2. Higgins, who went on to win the girls CGA State Junior title last year, fired a 6-under-par 66 on Tuesday that included six birdies and zero bogeys.

Wilson, winner of the Colorado Junior PGA Championship and the CPGA Junior Match Play in 2023, placed second after a second-round 73 in which she went 3 over for her first 10 holes and 2 under the rest of the way.

Junior Caitlyn Chin of Cherry Creek, a two-time Drive Chip & Putt National finalist, and Ralston Valley sophomore Addison Hines tied for third place at 3 over par.

With three players finishing in the top 11 individually on Tuesday, Valor Christian won its third consecutive 5A team title, this time by 25 strokes. Fossil Ridge was second and Rock Canyon third.

By the way, the all-classification record for consecutive girls state golf team titles in Colorado is five, by Mullen in Class 4A from 2001-05.

Valor’s state champion team featured Higgins, junior Bella Eide (eighth place), freshman Ella Scott (11th), and sophomore Aja Blankenship (17th).

 3A at the Olde Course at Loveland: Torres, who finished fifth last year in the 3A state meet, began the final day this year three strokes behind Bante, but caught her after 11 holes of the last round. 

After Bante regained the edge thanks to back-to-back double bogeys by Torres on 12 and 13, an eagle on 14 by the Prospect Ridge golfer and bogeys by Bante on 15, 16 and 17 gave Torres a one-shot advantage going into the final hole. But Torres bogeyed the par-3 concluding hole to force a playoff at 6 over par.

Sudden death lasted just one hole, with Torres making a winning par and adding an individual crown to the team title Prospect Ridge had already secured.

Bante, who will play her college golf at Notre Dame, had quite the record in the girls state high school tournaments, going second, first, first and second. But this one was certainly a far cry from last year’s 11-stroke victory.

Junior Kendra Johnson of Salida took third place on Tuesday at 11 over par (79-76).

Meanwhile, in the 3A team competition, St. Mary’s Academy saw its run of consecutive state team championships end at three. Prospect Ridge earned its first state title in girls golf, checking in 16 strokes ahead of Colorado Academy and 21 shots in front of SMA.

The champs from Prospect Ridge consisted of Torres, seniors Kate Dinges (12th place) and Leyni Stavola (26th), and sophomore Ye Yoon Choi (19th).

CLASS 5A TOP FINISHERS (Broadlands GC in Broomfield)


Valor Christian 223-219—442

Fossil Ridge 237-230—467

Rock Canyon 234-236–470

Cherry Creek 235-237–472

Mountain Vista 245-245—490


Brenna Higgins, Valor Christian 72-66–138

Ashleigh Wilson, Rock Canyon 71-73–144

Addison Hines, Ralston Valley 74-73–147

Caitlyn Chin, Cherry Creek 74-73–147

Maddie Makino, Legend 74-74–148

Ashley Chang, Rock Canyon 77-74–151

Abbi Beld, Fossil Ridge 78-73–151

Audrey Whitmore, Regis Jesuit 75-77—152

Bella Eide, Valor Christian 78-74–152

Ellie Barry, Fossil Ridge 76-77—153

CLASS 4A TOP FINISHERS (At CC of Colorado in CO Springs)


Erie 228-232—460

Steamboat Springs 261-265—526

Holy Family 263-257—520

Windsor 272-268—540

Lutheran 280-267—547


Logan Hale, Erie 67-75—142

Hadley Ashton, Erie 82-76—158

Macy Kleve, Windsor 86-72–158

Makena Thayer, Battle Mountain 79-80—159

Taylor Hale, Erie 79-81–160

Sofia Contreras, Pueblo Central 75-87—162

Zoe Bar-Or, Littleton 83-80–163

Kaitlyn Grommeck, Steamboat Springs 80-84–164

Olivia Meyering, Ponderosa 81-84—165

Steffi Heitz, Holy Family 88-80–168

CLASS 3A TOP FINISHERS (At Olde Course at Loveland)


Prospect Ridge Academy 249-252—501

Colorado Academy 265-252–517

St. Mary’s Academy 259-263—522

Aspen 260-268–528

Peak to Peak 267-270–537


Hope Torres, Prospect Ridge Academy 74-76–150 (won playoff)

Madde Bante, St. Mary’s Academy 71-79–150

Kyndra Johnson, Salida 79-76–155

Lenna Persson, Aspen 79-80–159

CheyAnne Schrick, Timnath 81-78–159

Addison Dorsey, Manitou Springs 84-76–160

Emma Garcia, Rye 79-85–164

Macie Doherty, Sterling 83-84–167

Avery Lent, Colorado Academy 85-84–169

Jordan Slutzky, Colorado Academy 91-80–171

Brooke O’Sullivan, Aspen 84-87–171

About the Writer: Gary Baines has covered golf in Colorado continuously since 1983. He was a sports writer at the Daily Camera newspaper in Boulder, then the sports editor there, and has written regularly for since 2009. The University of Colorado Evans Scholar alum was inducted into the Colorado Golf Hall of Fame in 2022. He owns and operates