This year’s Greater Spokane League golf season is the time for Panther fans to see if Mead High School can reclaim its hold on the league title.
Last year, Mead’s boys fell from a seven-year win streak, placing third in the GSL behind University and Gonzaga Prep.
This time around, the Panther boys have the depth to potentially reinstate their dynasty.
“We have all our significant players back from last year,” coach Paul Peters said. “My prediction is I think we’re going to be a good team.”
This year’s returning seniors are Ben Holt, who led the Panthers last year, and Dustin Dauphin. Seniors new to varsity are Steve Martin, Brian Northcutt, Griff Garsek and Kyle Snowdown.
Others are Clark Mather, Keith Ross, Jason Vedadi, Brandon Simchuk, Brian Fong and Josh Sicilia.
The Mead girls have placed second in the GSL for two years. This year, coach Eleen Becker thinks her team will do at least that well.
“If we don’t win the GSL, we’ll take second,” she said. The Mead girls also have a strong upper class of both old and new players.
“I have a great deal of seniors,” Becker said. “They’re not just here for a Saturday of golf. They’re here to compete.”
Returning seniors are Heather Burke, who has been a strong player all three years at Mead, and Sarah Kimmel. Seniors playing varsity for the first time are Chere Lucas, Lindsie Shelman, Camie Denholm and Robin Crace.
Other team members are Jessi Hiatt, Linda Laursen, Kari Rose, Heather Clements, Britney Holt, Jennifer Balcerak and Sarah Northcutt.
Both teams start their season play on Monday at Liberty Lake, against Rogers and Central Valley.
The Highlanders return with a young but experienced team hoping to improve on last year’s fifth-place boys finish.
“My boys team is exciting, because I have some young kids shooting real well,” coach Randy Lothspeich said. “They’re right in there with the older kids in the whole city. They’re certainly capable of shooting the numbers.”
Shadle’s best scorers are sophomore Sam Knowlton and freshman Robert Selland, who placed sixth in his age group last year at the Washington Junior Golf championships. Returning boys are Chris Bontrager, Jim Cole, Jon Lundy and Bryan Bowman. New players include Jared Herling, John Thurston, Chris Magnuson and Ben Newberry.
Lothspeich said his girls team is his best ever, but the strength of the other GSL squads makes it tough to stand out.
“We’re honestly the fourth to fifth best in the state, but the one- to three-ranked teams in the state will be from Spokane.”
Returning girls are Megan Ehlert, Julie Gibbs, Betsy Myers, Debbie Haakstad and Amber Adams.
New players are Lindsay Turner, Kelly McGinnis, Heather Smith, Leah Alexander and Jennifer Miller.
Both Shadle teams start their seasons Monday against Gonzaga Prep and University, at Esmeralda.
Dave Hall said coaching his boys got a little easier this year. He only lost one player from last season’s sixth-place finishers.
“Basically, we got everyone back, but we’re still pretty young,” he said.
Returning seniors are J.P. Brunner and former district-qualifier Oliver Jones. Other returning boys are Adam West, Steve Jones, Mark Becker and former state qualifier Kyle Kelley.
New faces include Jeff McGowan, Brian Thatcher and Ken Carlson.
The NC girls are in a building stage, having won just a single match last year, and finishing next to last in the GSL.
“We’ve got a real young team, but we’ve got numbers,” Halls said.
Returning starters are district qualifiers Jorene Riggins, a senior, and Cindy Morris, a junior.
New faces are Cyndi Cambell, Heidi Waid, Jennifer Benson, Danielle McMurtrey, Brianne Jacobs, Tara Fulton, Katy Larson and Brandy Keon.
Both teams will face Ferris and Lewis and Clark at Qualchan on Monday.
The Pirates return from a difficult year, placing last in both the boys and girls divisions of the GSL.
Coach Larry Williamson hopes his returnees will improve the Rogers record.
“We may have to work at it, but we’ll win a match this year,” he said.
Returning is senior Chris Hibbs, who went to state last season. Other returning seniors are Mike Tritt, Justin Ruegseggar, Blake Bennett and Sean Fager.
Other returning players are Pietro Papateila, Emerson Kaesmeyer and Stevie Solverson.
The Pirate girls return from the first season in eight years Rogers had a full team. Returning girls include district-qualifier Erika Robinson, a sophomore. Others returning are Jamaica Vandolah and Nicole Walters.
The rest of the team are freshman, including Tiffany Burns, Linsey Sutton, Jaclyn Ngata, Chanylle Abel, Krista Murphy and Lauren Berry.
Both teams start their season Monday in a match against Central Valley and Mead, at Liberty Lake.