Lewis and Clark has dominated Greater Spokane League girls golf the last nine years, but it appears to have company at the top this spring.
Mt. Spokane won the first of five GSL tournaments by 20 strokes, an indication that the Tigers’ title run could be in jeopardy.
“This one is going to be a tough one,” LC coach Michelle Grafos said. “We do have some really good competition and we’re kind of rebuilding a little bit. We’re not out of it by any means. We have some talented youngsters.”
Mt. Spokane features junior Sierra Bezdicek, who edged older sister Savana in a playoff for the State 3A title last year. Hailey Warren and Brianna Jensen placed in the top 10 and Cailin Spencer tied for 13th in the first GSL tournament.
“The girls were on top of the world,” coach Eleen Northcutt said. “It probably took a couple days for them to come down from the excitement. I’m extremely proud of them. The expectations are set pretty high now.”
Northcutt said several Wildcats were planning to play over spring break to be ready for the second GSL event at Wandermere on Tuesday.
Lewis and Clark sophomore Sierra Kersten was medalist at the first tournament with a 4-under 68 at Esmeralda. Bezdicek and Mead sophomore Lydia Kim each shot 74. Ferris’ Nicole Berg was fourth at 81.
The second-place Tigers were four strokes ahead of Gonzaga Prep and six ahead of Mead.
Gonzaga Prep had three of the top eight finishers with Kelly Hooper, Casey Mills and Lindsey Dotson, the latter a state qualifier last season. Mead is optimistic about the return of senior Maddy Underwood from a broken foot.
Central Valley and Ferris shared top honors in the first GSL boys tournament. Defending champion Mt. Spokane was third, followed by Lewis and Clark. The top seven teams were separated by just 18 strokes.
“There’s probably any one of four schools that can win it,” Mt. Spokane coach Greg Schultz said. “Ferris has an advantage; they’re a lot deeper than the rest of us. I would say Ferris, Central Valley, Mt. Spokane and Mead all have three really solid players and then it’s a matter of how the other three fill out the roster.”
Ferris’ Eric Ansett had the low round with a 1-under 69. Mead’s Matthew Heckel shot 70, Mt. Spokane’s Nick Thurston 72 and Central Valley’s Mark Beck and Nicholas Rheingans fired 73s.
The Saxons had four players below 80. Central Valley, Mt. Spokane and LC each had three.
“We’re certainly better than I thought, after the four (seniors) I lost,” said Schultz, whose team finished second at the State 3A tournament last year.
Coeur d’Alene, with four of five players returning from a squad that finished second at state last year, is favored to win the Inland Empire League boys title. Stephen Roller, Michael Porter, John Duffin and Kyle Kaufman placed in the top 17 at state.
“Our six through 10 players are getting second place in some of the tournaments,” coach Bryan Duncan said. “It’s been a good problem, but I wish five players would separate from the pack.”
Post Falls, led by Trevor Fedele, and Lewiston could challenge CdA.
Lewiston’s girls, paced by medalist Amy Hasenoehrl, won state last year but could be pushed by Coeur d’Alene. The Vikings defeated the Bengals at a tournament in Post Falls roughly two weeks ago.
Lewiston will host the 5A boys and girls state tournaments.
In 4A, defending state champion Derek Bayley of Lakeland suffered a dislocated shoulder during the basketball season. He was medalist at a recent tournament, but might need surgery after the season.
Kellogg senior Kaceelyn Pouttu is aiming for her fourth 3A girls title.