GSL golf preview
First team – Robby McKee and JM Larson (LC); Austin Billeter (Mt. Spokane). Second team – Dakota Pearce (CV); Tommy Sheppard, Evan Dyer and Stephen Thoen (Mead); Zack Spencer (Mt. Spokane).
State is what counted
McKee and Larson were members of the Tigers’ league and state championship team last year, McKee finishing 12th overall. Mt. Spokane’s all-leaguers were part of the Wildcats’ state-qualifying team, and all those players return. Some GSL players, of course, didn’t make the all-league team, but played in the dance. Among them: CV’s Joel Christensen and Mead’s Aaron Henderson in 4A, plus the Wildcats’ Nick Thurston, who finished tied for 34th, Tye Morrison, Tyler McQuilken and Marcus Bolam.
Coaches are expecting a wide-open competition with any of the top four predicted finishers capable of winning league. Mt. Spokane has finished fourth in two early tournaments. CV took third in the Clarkston Invitational. But you can’t count out last year’s league runner-up Mead or the Tigers.
What they’re saying
“This year’s league looks to be a battle between a couple of teams that have never (in my memory) won a GSL championship,” Mead Panthers coach Paul Peters said. “Mt. Spokane and CV are very similar – junior-dominated and deep. We will try and keep them honest.”
LC coach Jim Travis agreed with him. “We have two returning golfers from last year,” he said.
Mt. Spokane’s coach Greg Schultz and the CV Bears’ Steve Rasmussen sounded optimistic.
“In April the Wildcats will be competing in the prestigious Champions Invitational in Palm Springs,” said Schultz. “We are honored and look forward to a successful and fun season.”
Rasmussen said that golf expectations at CV are high. “Every one of our guys has the potential to shoot rounds in the 70s. Christensen is looking sharp. However, he has several guys pushing him for their chance at state.”
North Central returns three 3A regional participants – Trevor Richards, Alex Kaiser and Jake Degon. “We have a smaller than normal group this year, but I’m hoping our boys will improve enough to qualify for regional and take a swing at state,” coach Dave Hall said.
First team – Savana Bezdicek (Mt. Spokane); Megan Haase and Sydney Kersten (LC); Kristen Hansen (Mead). Second team – Pilar Alfaro (LC); Lindsey Dotson (G-Prep); Kelsey Ochoa (U-Hi); Maddy Underwood (Mead).
Youth was served
Things should potentially get better this year with the bulk of the All-GSL team returning. Last year GSL golfers swept individual titles with Bezdicek, a sophomore at the time, bringing home the 3A title with a two-day score of 145 at Horn Rapids in Richland (LC’s Chessey Thomas, now at Tennessee, was repeat 4A champion with 138 at Sun Willows in Pasco).
Don’t look for the standings to change substantially, although Mt. Spokane gets a boost with the addition of Savana’s freshman sister, Sierra Bezdicek. The Tigers bring back three members of last year’s league champion and state runner-up team, including 10th-place individual finisher Haase and Mead has varsity returnees. Hanson was 13th in state. Gonzaga Prep is always solid.
What they’re saying
LC coach Michelle Grafos would like to keep the Tigers’ run of success going. “As far as what we expect this season,” she said, “is hopefully another GSL title and a possible run for the state title.” She must groom new players and returnees without much varsity experience to go with her returning all-league trio.
New Mead coach Keith Ross, who spent six years as boys assistant and three years coaching at LC, said, “Our team has the capability to have one round in the 70s and four rounds in the 80s. Our team goal is to win the GSL.”
“The Lady Wildcats have a returning 3A state champion who is eager to defend,” said Mt. Spokane coach Eleen Northcutt, “and this year (Savana) will be joined by her sister who is a very strong player in her own right. The team has high expectations of doing very well.”
North Central’s team is young, but promising, coach Ryan Nelson said. “We only lost one varsity player. Brigid Rypien leads the team and tries to make it back to state again. As a freshman she missed state by one stroke and last year took third in the 3A regional to qualify. Keara Rypien missed state as a freshman last year by four strokes and will be looking to join her older sister at state this year. It should be a fun year.”
|4. Lewis and Clark||8. University|
|1. Mt. Spokane||5. Ferris||9. North Central|
|2. Mead||6. Gonzaga Prep||10. Rogers|
|3. Central Valley||7. Shadle Park|
|4. Mt. Spokane||8. North Central|
|1. Lewis and Clark||5. University||9. Shadle Park|
|2. Mead||6. Central Valley||10. Rogers|
|3. Gonzaga Prep||7. Ferris|