Preps Notebook: Free State’s Claire Berquist finishes 2nd at 6A state golf tournament

photo by: Matt Tait

Free State junior Claire Berquist shows off her all-Sunflower League medal before a practice round at Lawrence Country Club on Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021. Last week, the FSHS junior who first started playing golf the summer before her eighth grade year set a Free State girls golf record with an even-par 72 during a tournament at Eagle Bend Golf Course.

Free State High’s Claire Berquist capped her strong senior season with a second-place finish at the Class 6A state golf tournament this week in Salina.

Berquist tied with two other golfers for second with a two-day total of 150, 10 over par.

In Monday’s first round, Berquist tied her own school record by firing a 2-over-par 72 to put herself in striking distance to win the title. She first set the record last season and was so locked in on trying to finish on top that she did not even realize she had tied the mark this week.

“I actually did not even think about it until my mom text me later that night,” Berquist said Wednesday. “Monday was actually both my mom and dad’s birthday so when I walked off the green I just smiled and told them, ‘Happy Birthday, guys.’ I think they thought it was a pretty good present.”

Berquist followed up her first-round 72 with a 78 on Tuesday in much colder conditions. She had a putt on the final hole from 15 feet out that would have put her in a tie for first place. But she just missed and finished with a par at the last hole to tie for second.

She admitted to being disappointed by the second-round 78 but said she was proud of the way she finished her high school career.

“If I would’ve told myself at the beginning of the season that I would have a putt at state to tie for first and force a playoff, I would’ve been so happy knowing I competed hard and put myself in position to win,” she said. “It was a great way to finish off my career and I’m very proud of everything I accomplished.”

Another element of the state tournament that made Berquist happy was the play of fellow-senior Natalie Schmidtberger, who shot a 171 — 83 on Monday and 88 on Tuesday.

“It was really exciting to see both of us playing well,” Berquist said. “It was a great way to end the season.

Shawnee Mission East freshman Ella Slicker (78-71) won the tournament and SM East’s Ingrid Blacketer and Olathe Northwest’s Avery Hearshman tied with Berquist for second. All three second-place finishers played together in Round 3.

At the 4A state meet, Tonganoxie’s Hayden York took third with a two-round 168 in Emporia. Eudora High’s Joellen Vogt took eighth with a two-day total of 177.

XC regionals this weekend

The Lawrence High and Free State cross country teams will compete in the regionals race on Saturday in Manhattan. The girls’ race begins at 10 a.m., with the boys following up at 10:40 a.m.

Postseason volleyball up next

Sub-state volleyball opens up Saturday with No. 4 Free State (23-12) taking on No. 13 Wichita Southeast (9-25) in the opening pair of matches at Free State. No. 10 Lawrence High (11-21) is slated against No. 7 Wichita East (17-18) for 20 minutes after the opening match at Wichita Northwest.

Soccer roundup

The Lawrence High boys’ soccer team came up short to Shawnee Mission East 5-0 on Tuesday’s senior night matchup at LHS. Senior Cale Scott previously broke the Lions’ single-season scoring record (17 goals) in a narrow 4-3 loss to Olathe Northwest last week.

LHS (5-8-1) travels to Olathe South for its season finale on Thursday.

The Free State boys soccer team (6-5-2) fell to Olathe Northwest 2-0 on Tuesday night in Olathe. The Firebirds square off with Olathe North on Friday in its season finale. Regional play is slated to begin on Oct. 24.

In other soccer news, Bishop Seabury went 1-2 this week with losses to Baldwin (3-2 in overtime) and Bishop Ward (4-2) and a Tuesday win over KC Christian (2-1).

The win over KC Christian, which featured two goals from Beck Oldridge and an assist from Enzo Karam, was one of the Seahawks’ best wins of the year. But there was joy even in their loss to Bishop Ward.

Head coach Ivo Ivanov called a goal by Karam “the most amazing goal in the history of the program.”

Karam’s goal, which tied the game at 2, came on a kickoff after the Seabury veteran noticed the goalkeeper creeping up a little too far out of the net. Karam ripped a shot from midfield and the ball fell into the back of the net just under the crossbar and just over the outstretched arms of the backpedaling keeper.


Welcome to the new Our old commenting system has been replaced with Facebook Comments. There is no longer a separate username and password login step. If you are already signed into Facebook within your browser, you will be able to comment. If you do not have a Facebook account and do not wish to create one, you will not be able to comment on stories.