Cougars (10-0) win inaugural state title

Four girls make up the Cannon girls' golf team.

While they may be small in number, the Cougars were big on results this season, going a 10-0 this season to win the N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association 3A state championship Oct. 24.

Cannon dominated the inaugural girls' golf state tournament, beating second-place Raleigh Ravenscroft by 22 shots at Bryan Park in Greensboro.

Sophomore Kate Collom led the Cougars and the tournament, earning medalist honors with a 75, one stroke better than Ravenscroft standouts Evie Dole and Jessica Kittelberger. Collom clinched the individual title by draining an 8-foot par putt on the 18th hole.

Collom led an impressive Cougar squad at states, as her younger sister, freshman Annie Collom, shot a 78, while classmate Anna Redding shot a 79 and sophomore Taylor Bunten carded an 88. All four Cannon girls earned all-state honors.

"To go in and have three of our four girls shoot in the 70s at the state meet was unbelievable," said Cannon girls' golf coach Kent Sonnefeld, who took over halfway through the regular season. "With what was at stake and the course conditions, this says a lot about the mental toughness and the consistency that our girls have played with all year."

The Cannon girls' team did this in only their third year as a team. Only Kate Collom has been on the team all three years.

The Collom sisters, of Davidson, as well as Bunting and Redding, both from Concord, are all accomplished junior circuit players and have been in pressure situations on the golf course before, but the state championship tournament this was different because it was for their team and school, not just themselves as individuals.

"It feels great to win the first girls' state championship ever (in NCISAA), especially against so many good teams," said Annie Collom. "I'm really excited about celebrating with everyone at school, too. A lot of people don't really think about the girls' golf team that often. I think they will take notice now that we won states."

While the Cougars feel great about this season for now, they also will have a bright future as Kate Collom and Bunten have two more seasons at Cannon, while Annie Collom and Redding have three more years.

The four all-state players definitely want to win it all again.

"I think we will definitely have a chance to win states again in the next few years," Kate Collom said. "But we're going to have to keep working hard to get back to that point."