April 7, 2012 in Sports

Wildcats golfer Thurston blossoms in Wenatchee

By The Spokesman-Review
 

It was a nice win for the Mt. Spokane boys golf team, Wildcats junior Nick Thurston and Thurston’s family.

Thurston captured medalist honors with a 1-under-par 68 at Three Lakes Golf Course in Wenatchee last week, helping Mt. Spokane to the team title over perennial power Richland. Mead, without its complete team, finished third.

“It does mean a lot to Nick. He comes from a long line of golfers,” Mt. Spokane coach Greg Schultz said. “Wenatchee coach Stan Opp has always watched out for him a little bit and followed him.”

For good reason. Nick’s dad, Charlie, played for Opp at Wenatchee and grandfather Lance served as Wenatchee’s coach in the 1980s and was also Three Lakes’ president. Charlie is director of instruction at Spokane Country Club.

Thurston’s ball-striking wasn’t great, but his short game saved him several strokes. He was 4 under after eight holes, but doubled the ninth.

“It was actually No. 18, because he started on the back nine,” Schultz said. “He hit an errant tee shot and took a double bogey. I said, ‘What were you thinking?’ He said, ‘I was trying to get a 29, Coach.’ I said, ‘OK, I’ll sign off on that.’ ”

Mt. Spokane shot 285 as a team, barely edging Richland.

“We finished second last year and we knew what we were up against. We’ve been butting heads in invitationals with Richland and they’re really good,” Schultz said. “They got us back at Apple Tree.”

That was the following day, when Mt. Spokane placed third at the Lee Dolquist Invitational at Apple Tree in Yakima. Senior Tye Morrison, the 2011 GSL MVP, shot 72 to finish second and senior Austin Billeter’s 77 was good for 12th.

LC starts quickly

Eight-time defending GSL girls champion Lewis and Clark posted a 29-shot victory over second-place Mt. Spokane at the first league match last week at Esmeralda. Mead was third, four shots behind the Wildcats, followed by North Central.

LC senior Megan Haase, who has signed with the University of Colorado, shot 75, Sydney Kersten 76 and younger sister Sierra Kersten 77.

“We were a little rusty from the spring weather and I think we can shoot a lot better,” coach Michelle Grafos said. “But I’m proud of how they played. Our strategy is to be strong top to bottom. I know golf is an individual sport, but we focus on everyone contributing and you’ll usually see a couple in the 70s, a couple in the 80s and maybe one in the 90s.”

In previous tournaments, Lewis and Clark took first in Hanford, fourth with a split squad in Clarkston and won at Manito.

“This team is right there with the other teams we’ve had in the past,” Grafos said. “The lineup will probably shift a little more than in the past, but they have so much dedication and heart I think we’ll have a great season.”

Mt. Spokane sophomore Sierra Bezdicek was medalist at the first GSL match with a 72.

Bears take early lead

The GSL boys race figures to be close throughout the five-match regular season. Central Valley won the first league match, firing a team score of 377 at Esmeralda to edge Mead and Mt. Spokane, both at 381, and four-time defending champ Lewis and Clark (388). Ferris was fifth at 402.

“That’s exactly what it’s going to be like with those four schools. It’s going to bounce back and forth,” Mt. Spokane’s Schultz said. “Ferris will be in the mix, too. They’ve improved.”

Mead’s Stephen Thoen had the low round with a 72. Sixteen players shot between 72 and 77.

The next league match for boys and girls is scheduled for Tuesday afternoon at Wandermere.


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