Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

West Valley’s Melia Cerenzia handles the elements to take 2A state title

Whether she trailed by two shots or led by two shots, when it was raining sideways or the sun showed up on the back nine, Melia Cerenzia kept on hitting quality golf shots and chatting with her playing partners.

The West Valley sophomore brushed off difficult weather conditions in the morning, stuck to her plan and was rewarded with a State 2A championship trophy.

“She almost thrived on the conditions,” said Eagles coach Ty Brown, who watched Cerenzia on the front nine and her older sister, Spencer, playing one group in front of her, on the back. “For some reason she just absorbed it and went into it with that attitude of, ‘Just another round, see what I can do.’

“It was fantastic to watch her play.”

Cerenzia carded an even-par 72 at MeadowWood to rally from a two-shot first-round deficit to a four-shot victory over Ephrata’s Jayme Dwight and White River’s Lexie Mahler. Her sister finished seventh as West Valley took second place for the second straight year. White River won the team title. Pullman was fourth.

Cerenzia played her best when the weather wasn’t cooperating – “one of those upside down umbrella days,” Brown called it – with three birdies on the first seven holes.

“I knew everyone was playing the same conditions,” she said.

“I feel like we’re used to it,” said Spencer, before Melia shrugged her shoulders and added, “Washington weather.”

Cerenzia made the turn in 1-under 35 to move two strokes ahead of first-day leader Dwight. Mahler, who also had 35 on the front, was one back.

Cerenzia strung together five straight pars to start the back side and opened up a four-shot edge. Her drives often sailed 25-30 yards past Dwight and Mahler. On the uphill, 306-yard 14th, Cerenzia’s drive had the distance but found the green-side bunker.

“It was pretty level, consistent, what I wanted to do,” Cerenzia said of her round. “Just go out there and play my own game and play within myself, and I did that.”

Cerenzia improved throughout the season. Brown pointed out that Cerenzia made big strides with course management.

“The beginning of the season started out pretty rough,” she said, “but I pulled it together eventually. Glad to finish strong.”

Asked if they’re good for each other’s games, the sisters nodded in agreement. “Very good,” Melia said.

“I think we’re each other’s biggest competition and push each other to be the best we can be,” said Spencer, who will play at Eastern Washington University next year. “Without each other, it’d be a lot different.”

4A: Gonzaga Prep’s boys climbed three spots in the standings to finish fourth after shooting 301 – second only to champion Sumner’s second-day 292.

Johnny Doree led the Bullpups with a 1-under 70 at Indian Canyon to place 10th. John Malsam (76-150) tied for 19th and Dillon Schrock tied for 23rd (75-152).

Bellarmine Prep’s JJ Bordeaux (68-141) won a four-man playoff for the individual title. Sumner won the team title by 14 shots over Newport (Bellevue).

G-Prep’s Lisette Durkin (78-159) tied for eighth among girls. Henry M. Jackson freshman Changyoung Park (73-146) finished first and Camas rolled to a 27-shot victory at The Creek at Qualchan.

3A: Ridgeline’s girls took seventh place, led by Carolyn Rose, who fired a 78 (161 for 36 holes) to tie for 13th.

Mead’s Brooke Bloom (166) tied for 19th and Mt. Spokane’s Mia Bontrager (169) finished 21st.

Bellevue had six players finish in the top 10, including medalist Nicole Tang’s two-round 144, to win by 68 over Liberty (Issaquah).

Mead’s boys tied for sixth with a two-round total of 635 at Hawks Prairie in Lacey. Cheney freshman Ryan Howe (78) and North Central sophomore Teigen Brill (75) finished in a six-way tie for 13th at 152.

Stanwood’s Conrad Chisman (73-143) claimed the state title.

2A boys: Pullman placed fourth. Junior Trae Fredrickson (80-158) shared 11th place.

Burlington-Edison had three of the top four finishers, paced by champ Wyatt Brownell (71-135), to roll to the title at Liberty Lake.

1A: Freeman’s Lily Knight shot 83 for a two-round 171 at Riverside in Chehalis to take seventh place among girls. Medical Lake’s Kali Rowe (87-183) finished 10th.

Freshman Kendria Wang (71-148) cruised to an eight-shot victory to lead Overlake to the championship.

Deer Park’s Wyatt Priddy tied for 10th in the boys tournament with a 36-hole score of 160. Meridian’s Daniel Blankenburg (142) won the individual crown by seven shots.

2B/1B: Almira/Coulee-Hartline sophomore Naomi Molitor shot an 85 to claim the girls championship trophy at Tumwater Valley.

Molitor, who placed fourth as a freshman last year, trailed Wahkiakum’s Avrey Wiltse-Hiatt by one after Tuesday’s opening round. Molitor rallied with the lowest second-round score by three shots to win by three over Odessa’s Melloney Deife and four over Wiltse-Hiatt.

St. John-Endicott/LaCrosse’s McKenzie Stanley was fourth and Tekoa-Rosalia’s Maddie Haas took ninth.

Dan Harrington’s bid for a third consecutive boys title came up just short. The Northwest Christian senior posted a 77 to finish third at 151. Orcas Island eighth-grader Joe Anderson (148) won the title, followed by Matthew Longstreth of St. George’s (76-150).