ELWOOD — “I’m speechless right now,” Frankton coach Jeff Bates said as the scores were being tabulated.
Nearly an hour later, junior Lauren Benton was still shedding tears of joy and her classmate Sydney Dillmon was smiling from ear to ear.
For senior Ellie Anderson, there was immense pride in her team accomplishing the improbable.
In just its second year as a program, the Frankton girls golf team edged rival Alexandria by four strokes on the tough Elwood Golf Links to bring home its first Central Indiana Conference championship Saturday.
The Eagles finished with a team score of 396, just four shots better than Alexandria. The Tigers edged Oak Hill (402) and Madison-Grant (404) as the top four teams were separated by just eight shots.
Hope Mygrant of Oak Hill was the medalist with an 85, while Kasey Cleaver of the Argylls was runner-up with a 90.
Mississinewa (439), Eastbrook (442) and Elwood (449) rounded out the field.
But the day belonged to the Frankton team, a program started just two years ago that began competition last season under Bates.
“I wasn’t expecting all of them to shoot some of their best rounds,” he said. “Ellie was real close to her best round and Sydney, that was her best round.”
“This course beats me up a lot mentally,” Dillmon said. “Just the fact that this was my last time to try to beat this course this year. I was like, OK, this is my CIC. Let’s push through and do this. And I had a lot of confidence in my teammates.”
Playing as the team’s No. 1, Anderson posted a 92 as the low Eagle. But it was Dillmon’s 93, playing in the No. 3 spot, that may have made the difference in winning a championship.
“I knew she could do it. She’s been capable and been close,” Bates said. “It was just a matter of time before she would put it all together.”
Both Anderson and Dillmon were among the top eight individuals who earned all-conference honors.
“It’s great, and I’m so proud of our girls,” Anderson said. “I can’t even believe it, but it’s awesome.”
Junior Sophia Chaplin (101) and freshman Bella Dean (110) rounded out the Frankton scoring with Benton finishing with a 120.
Alex was led by junior Kelsey Rhoades, who also earned all-CIC honors with a 94. As with the Eagles, balance was the key to the strong finish for Alexandria with Emma Howe (101), Chloe Cuneo (102) and Gracyn Hosier (103) completing the Tigers’ team score with Jordan Rordin also firing a 124.
“I’m not surprised. They did a great job and worked hard,” Alexandria coach Bruce Johnson said. “I give them a goal to shoot 100 or better, and they were all right around there.”
In addition to Cleaver, Argylls junior Abby Hostetler earned all-conference honors with a 95 with her sister Allie (107) and Nancy Chapel (112) completing the M-G scoring. Allie Vetor also shot a 114 for the Argylls.
“Congratulations to Frankton, Alexandria and Oak Hill who all played well,” M-G coach Mike Small said. “Not up to (Kasey’s) standards. She’s pretty hard on herself, but a 90 is pretty good today.”
Elwood was led by senior Claudia Leavell’s third-place performance of 91, which included an eagle on the par-4 first hole and a birdie on the par-4 ninth hole. Mady Deckard (115), Sydney Tincher (118) and Taylor Ash (125) also scored for the Panthers with Alyvia Savage coming in with a 128.
For Leavell, who shot a 40 earlier in the week for a new personal best for nine holes, it was also a second straight low for 18 holes after a 95 at the Madison County tournament a week ago.
It also gave her an edge in her own sibling rivalry with older sister Gabby.
“So my sister brought home a ribbon, but I’m bringing home a medal,” Claudia said. “That’s a big accomplishment for me. I’ve always tried to one-up her, and I did.”