The Del Norte High girls golf team ended its season Monday with its best team performance in a Humboldt-Del Norte Big 5 League tournament this year.
The Warriors combined for a stroke total of 564 - their lowest by 17 strokes - at the par-70 Willow Creek Golf and Country Club in Willow Creek. Del Norte finished in third place, behind McKinleyville (508 strokes) and Arcata (542).
Eureka (580) and Fortuna (634) finished in fourth and fifth places, respectively.
"Our final match of the year went better than expected," Warriors volunteer assistant coach James Haban said. "It is great to see the ladies making real improvement and lowering their scores."
Del Norte freshman Siera Fitzhugh tied her personal-best score with a 36-over 106, putting her at eighth overall for the tournament as the Warriors' top finisher.
Taylor Shanley (tied for 11th, 112), Bailee Jones (tied for 14th, 114), Brooke Trujillo (tied for 16th, 115) and Hailie Thompson (20th, 117), rounded out Del Norte's top five for the tournament. Shanley recorded a personal-best round by eight strokes, and Thompson shaved 18 strokes off her previous career best.
Amber Preston (22nd, 120), Alicia Fender (tied for 27th, 158), Haylee Hardy (t-27th, 158) and Morgan Gibson (t-27th, 158) also competed for the Warriors.
McKinleyville's Leilani Harting earned medalist honors in posting a 7-over 77. She also posted the league's top score over six tournaments (520), in a tie with Eureka's Ashley Gutierrez.
Fitzhugh had the ninth-best season total in the league (656), 27 strokes behind a top-seven finish and White Star status. Jones, a sophomore, was the No. 10 scorer in the league this season (689); Trujillo (12th, 708) and Preston (13th, 724) were also within the range of White Star honors.
The Warriors opted not to submit their candidacy for the California Interscholastic Federation North Coast Section Division 2 Championship, to be held at Peacock Gap Country Club in San Rafael on Monday, Oct. 22. Del Norte would have required an at-large bid to continue its season.
Instead, the Warriors look ahead to next fall. Only Preston will have graduated among Del Norte's top five in 2012; Trujillo, Shanley and Fender would be entering their senior seasons.
"Our goal is to have five ladies under 100 (strokes per round) before the start of the 2013 season," Haban said. "This is not an unrealistic possibility (if the girls) come out swinging in 2013."
Reach Robert Husseman at firstname.lastname@example.org .