By Andy Kanengiser
Playing some of their finest golf all season, the Long Beach High (LBH) Lady Bearcats golfers captured the state 5A state championship in April at the Oaks Golf Club in Pass Christian. The LBH girls shot a combined score of 331 to top runner-up Pearl River Central by twelve shots.
Taking home the hardware, the Lady Bearcats worked hard all season to triumph in MHSAA 5A competition.
All-State student-athlete Gracie Bloom, 17, led the way for Long Beach with scores of 68 and 69, an amazing total of 137.
A talented Long Beach junior, Bloom stepped up her game as the low medalist for 5A and 6A with ten birdies. Lady Bearcats golfer Isabelle Burgess, a freshman, shot scores of 95 and 99. Adding to the win, sisters Sami Gundlach and Secilia Gundlach rounded out the scoring for Long Beach.
What makes Gracie Bloom so successful? “It’s definitely a case of a lot of practice and dedication,’’ says her mom, Leah Howell Bloom. “She works as a cart kid at The Oaks and practices almost every day.’’
What’s ahead for the Long Beach High standout? Bloom says she looks forward to her senior year at Long Beach High. This summer, she will spend much of her time playing in golf tournaments. Isabelle Burgess, who returns as a sophomore next fall, began playing golf a few months ago.
Long Beach didn’t just walk away with the victory; Pearl River Central gave chase. All-State golfer Grace Lanier of Pearl River Central racked up a strong individual score (a total of 163) for her team’s second place finish. Other high school teams competing at the 5A tournament in Pass Christian were Center Hill, Lafayette and Saltillo.
On Facebook, Long Beach girls head golf coach Shawn Hicks shared his thoughts about the Lady Bearcats’ remarkable first-place finish in the state tournament.
“I am extremely blessed to have a special group of young ladies,’’ says Hicks, a Long Beach resident. “I’m proud of their hard work, dedication and effort. They performed on the biggest stage and made us very proud.’’