Surfing: Gilchrist defends crown

Kaleigh Gilchrist went out on top with regard to the Surfing America USA Championships Monday at Lower Trestles in San Clemente.

The recent Newport Harbor High graduate successfully defended her girls' under-18 title in the last year she is eligible for the competition. Gilchirst, a standout water polo player who will compete in the sport at USC, beat out Sage Hill School's Courntey Conlogue to also win the Governor's Cup.

Gilchrist scored 15.67, while Conlogue, the reigning U.S. Open women's champ, finished with 14.23. Nage Melamed (13) was third and Lakey Peterson (11.03) was fourth.

Girlchrist also saved her best for last, peaking at just the right moment.

"I was just getting mediocre scores to get by," Gilchrist told Surfing America's website. "Luckily, everything turned on for the finals."

Gilchrist dominated the final heat, starting off with two strong scores that left the opposition trying to chase her down.

"I'm speechless I'm so stoked right now," Girlchrist said. "Defending [my Surfing America USA Championship] title was a huge goal of mine. This is the best month ever: graduation, this and then [Indonesia] next month!"

With the championship, Gilchrist eaned a a spot on the PacSun surf team.

— From staff reports

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