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Angel Classic will determine teams for Missouri/Illinois River to River Challenge

Westminster Christian Academy is the defending champions of the Angel Classic but coach Steve Bradley said this is a different group of Wildcats that will be competing this time.

“We are a pretty young team this season so we are going into the tournament with hopes of learning a little about ourselves,” Bradley said.

The 17th annual high school girls golf tournament begun by St. Joseph’s Academy coach Carol Fromuth begins at 2 p.m. Saturday (Sept. 13) at Crystal Springs Quarry Golf Club. The course will ply to 5,400 yards.

“We like playing there,” Fromuth said about her Angels, who finished second last year. “It’s a fair but challenging course.  It’s in good shape and I know it will be a good test for the girls.”

There are 14 teams competing this year. The teams are Cor Jesu, Francis Howell, Incarnate Word Academy, John Burroughs, Kirkwood, Marquette, MICDS, Nerinx Hall, Parkway Central, Parkway West, St. Joseph’s Ursuline Academy, Villa Duschesne, and Westminster Christian Academy.

Defending Class 1 state champion John Burroughs and Kirkwood are new this year to the tournament. Timberland is lone team not returning.

“It’s a good field,” Fromuth said. “I’m glad to see Marquette in it because it is one of the stronger public schools this year. This is a good test for these teams.”

Several teams are considered favorites to win the tournament this year.

While Bradley did not rule out his Wildcats, he said some teams have a good chance to finishing first.

“I haven’t seen a list of teams that are playing in the tournament yet, but I would guess that MICDS, St.Joe’s, Marquette and Fort Zumwalt South would be strong contenders for the title,” Bradley said. “With some luck a couple more could surprise some people. We have been getting better every match with scores getting lower and lower.”

“Marquette and Kirkwood will certainly challenge,” Fromuth said. “There are a lot of good teams in the tournament. I think MICDS is a favorite. They’re stacked. They’re a great team.

“We’re playing OK. We’re very consistent. It’ll be interesting to see how we play.”

MICDS coach Steve Johnston said the Rams are ready to tee it up.

“My team is definitely looking forward to the Angel Classic because we feel it’s our best chance for success there in a long time,” Johnston said. “The field is always strong and the winner will be the one who has all five players play their best rounds of the season.”

The Rams are off to a 4-0 start in dual matches. Junior co-captain Abby Schroeder has medaled in all four matches and her average stands at 36.

Johnston did not make any predictions for the team title but he did not rule out his Rams.

“The team title is a tough call because we don’t see many of the competitors in our class,” Johnston said. “I think our team depth could help us close in on our first Angel Classic title.”

There are several good candidates for medalist honors.

“Logan Otter from John Burroughs could make a run at the medalist honors,” Johnston said.

Bradley believes two of his Wildcats will be in the hunt for top finishes in the meet.

“I think McKenna Montgomery and Taylor French could make a good bid for medal spots,” Bradley said. “McKenna shot a 2-under par the other day at Aberdeen for nine holes. Taylor and McKenna have traded the low scores thus far for the season. We have a freshman, Macie Daniels, that has gotten better in every match and is playing in the No. 3 slot right now. She has been working hard at getting better.

“Along with that I think Amanda Kim, of Fort Zumwalt South; Rebecca Sue, of Parkway West; Allison Tichenor, of Marquette;  Logan Otter, of John Burroughs; or Abby Schroeder, of MICDS, would be front-runners for the tournament championship.”

There is more at stake than just a tournament title, too.

The top six teams will be eligible to play in the Missouri/Illinois River to River Challenge. That tournament features six Missouri teams playing six teams from Illinois. The tournament will be played Sept. 20 at The Orchards in Belleville, Ill.

Westminster is the defending River to River champion.

“This tournament is pretty exciting for the girls because the outcome determines what you do the following week,” Bradley said. “We’ve been very honored to qualify for the past several years. It really is a fun tournament because some of the teams you play against become your teammates for a day as we try to keep the trophy on the Missouri side of the river.”

Johnston said he wold like to see his Rams get a chance to play this year. That has not been the case recently.

“We have not been able to play in the River Challenge the past several years, although invited, due to other school activities that took precedent,” Johnston said. “But, this year, if we play well and potentially win, we will definitely play in the River Challenge.”

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