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So, for a high-school athlete, what could be greater than winning back-to-back state championships in the sport that you love and at which you excel? The answer is going back-to-back-to-back and grabbing a third consecutive state crown. And, to sprinkle a little extra Awesome Dust all over things, it’s doing it in your senior year and on your home course.

Such was the semi-perfect experience for Ironwood Ridge golfer Celia Schrecker when she and her Nighthawk teammates successfully defended their state crown at Tucson National a couple weeks ago. Ironwood Ridge won the pandemic-plagued 2020 championship in a nail-biter over Phoenix Cactus Shadows. The fact that they returned all five starters this year from the championship squad would have made the Nighthawks a prohibitive favorite to repeat, perhaps even in a cakewalk. But, after the first day of the two-day event, such was not the case as Shrecker and her teammates faced a stiff challenge from several opposing schools.

“It was way too close after the first day,” she recalls. “We only had a 1-point lead over Salpointe. But we all knew that we could play better that second day.”

And play better, they did. Their four top players put on a clinic, playing inspired golf for a combined team total of one-under par 283. During that second round, the Ironwood Ridge girls effectively outplayed their Salpointe opponents by almost four strokes per player while coasting to a 15-stroke victory. (Schrecker shot a one-over 143 for the two days.)

“It was so great,” says Schrecker. “Nobody was nervous. We all just focused and played our best.”

Schrecker started playing golf when she was 5 years old, but was a multi-sport athlete well into middle school. About five years ago, she decided to devote herself to golf. She made the varsity team as a freshman at Canyon Del Oro. “I really wasn’t happy there,” she says. She met the Port sisters (Raina and Hannah) and they hit it off, so she decided to join them at Ironwood Ridge. Three consecutive state championships ensued.

Here’s something crazy. Ironwood Ridge joins Phoenix Central, Scottsdale Chaparral and Cactus Shadows as the only teams to win three straight state titles. Amazingly, Phoenix Xavier Catholic has to its credit state championship winning streaks of eight, 12 and 16 years!

Like LeBron James before her, Celia will be taking her talents to South Beach next year. Actually, she’ll be a few miles up the coast from South Beach, attending Palm Beach Atlantic University, where on just about any day, a good golfer can shoot a score lower than the humidity percentage level. (Her favorite subject is math, so she’s guaranteed to be successful in life.) 

Both of her parents played college golf and she plays with her dad whenever possible. Can she beat him?

There’s a quick “yes,” then she adds, “I think he likes (the fact the she can beat him).”

The competitive golfer in him probably isn’t thrilled, but the proud dad is diggin’ it.

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