If the early bird catches the worm, will that translate favorably to area golfers who drew early tee times in today’s first rounds at their respective state tournaments?
University’s District 8 champion Hank Frame will open State 4A boys play at 7:30 a.m. in a threesome that includes Eastlake’s co-third place state finisher Kevin Penner.
All six Greater Spokane League boys state qualifiers – Frame, Lewis and Clark’s Justin Haase and Christian Alfaro, Ferris’ Garrett Howard, Mead’s Matt Penny and Gonzaga Prep’s Ron Seibly – will be off the tee and onto the Canyon Lakes course by 8:30.
Penner tied with Ricky McDonald (Edmonds-Woodway) last year and they are among six returning top-six placers. Defending champion Reid Martin (Kamiak) and runner-up Broc Johnson (Todd Beamer) have later starts. Chris Olmstead (Rogers of Puyallup) and Sean McMullen (Kentridge), who tied for sixth, are the others.
Frame, twice a top-20 state finisher during his Titans career, was this summer’s Washington Junior Golf Association state champion, beating some of those golfers, and is in the mix along with Lewis and Clark’s Haase, who tied with Frame in district and last summer qualified for the USGA Junior Amateur Championships.
The highest returning placer among area golfers at state is another U-Hi athlete, Kaitlen Parsons. Last year in Bellingham, Parsons shot 159 to finish fourth.
She begins in girls play at 7:48 with Lewis and Clark’s Megan Haase at Sun Willows. They follow Tigers co-seventh state placer and USGA Junior Amateur qualifier Chessey Thomas off the tee box. Also in the field are LC teammates Sydney Kersten and Emily Travis with another shot at a team title. Elaine Whaley of Gonzaga Prep rounds out the GSL contingent with a 9 a.m. start.
They’ll challenge Seo Hee Moon (Kamiak), who tied for second, Lauren Sewell (Kentridge, fifth), Kara Zitzman (Redmond, ninth) and Emily Guthrie (Snohomish, 10th).
•Mt. Spokane freshman Savannah Bezdicek, who had the best 3A scoring average (75.8), and last year’s 11th place state finisher Jenni White from East Valley lead a six-girl GSL contingent. Jaein Yoo of Shadle Park, Hillary Susz and Morgan Williams of Mt. Spokane and Ashley Olson of EV are the others. Kristin Tan of Holy Names Academy is defending state champion, one of five top-10 placing returnees.
Brady Dixon and Connor Richards from North Central are boys representatives in a field that includes four returnees who placed between fourth and eighth.
•In 2A, Squalicum’s Matt Rawtizer joins the boys field after winning 3A a year ago. Also back is Lynden runner-up Will Holdridge among five top-10 veterans. Claire Rachor from Bellingham is defending girls champion, one of five top-10 returners.
Clarkston’s Tyler Carlson (150) and Bo Baker (153) finished one-two in the Great Northern League and are joined by teammates Brian Poe, Austin Arnett and Phil Bateman. Colville advances Drew Cowbrough, Casey Cox, Jordan Anderson and Jackson King. Other qualifiers are Aaron Byrd of Cheney, Erik Johnson of Pullman, Mitch Rummer of Deer Park and Branden Greene of Medical Lake.
Kelsey Dutton was girls medalist and Pullman won district. State qualifiers are Dutton and Kyrstan Mawdsley, Deer Park; Paige Whidbe, Jennifer Sorensen, Trisha DeMacon, Pullman; Brianne Terry, Riverside; Marye Fuqua, Cheney; Sonnie Mitchell, Clarkston; Lindsey Campbell, Medical Lake; Sara Bronowski, Megan Ray and Mary Rothwell, Colville.
•Freeman finished fourth in State 1A last year. Dylan Maine, Tyler Barrong, Ryan McKinney, Jess Wingett and Connor Claeys have the Scotties back. Carson Stroyan of Chewelah, Doug Tebow of Kettle Falls and Kurtis Jelinek and Ryan Newcomb of Lakeside are in the field, which includes four top-10 placers including runner-up Jack Whealdon of Ilwaco.
Chelan girls state champ Kelli Bowers returns to face locals Alyssa Maine of Freeman, Arlie Coleman of Chewelah and Brandi Mahoney and Emily Hord of Lakeside.
•The Northwest Christian boys are defending 2B/1B champions, led by Whitworth-bound Jared Descoteaux, who placed fourth. He’ll challenge defending champion Craig Crawford of Highland Christian and runner-up Nathan Putnam of Life Christian Academy.
Odessa’s Zack Powell tied for eighth among boys and Kira Powell was third in the girls tourney. That field includes six top-six placers, defending champ Kristen Rue of Life Christian among them.
The Districts 7 and 9 fields have 21 area boys and nine girls competing.