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Mt. Spokane girls score first for program

Mt. Spokane girls golfers had a breakthrough Tuesday, winning a Greater Spokane League team match for the first time in program history.

“When they won at Downriver we were so excited,” said coach Eleen Northcutt. “It was a historic moment.”

The Wildcats scored 461 points to edge GSL title perennial Lewis and Clark by five strokes. Northcutt said when the final score was confirmed, “I was totally aghast.”

Shock and amazement were appropriate emotions considering the makeup of the team. Yes, the Wildcats have State 3A title contenders in sisters Savana and Sierra Bezdicek. Savana and No. 3-4 player Kara Osterback, however, are the only varsity returnees.

Sierra is one of four freshmen in the starting lineup. None of the other three has had much golfing background.

“They came out and decided to try it and fell in love with it,” said Northcutt. “They are so upbeat and so eager. I’ve never had a group of freshmen like this who can’t get enough of golf.”

Brianna Jensen comes from a golfing family. Her mother is a teaching professional, Northcutt said. But Chelsea Goehring and Hailey Warren, who round out the six-player varsity, brought athleticism and now have added the passion.

“It is extremely uplifting to see these girls and their eagerness to learn,” Northcutt said. “I’m so proud and excited for them.”

It doesn’t hurt having the Bezdicek sisters. Junior Savana is defending state champion. GSL rookie Sierra has been medalist the first two GSL outings, shooting an average of 73 per 18 holes. Her sister ranks third at 77 behind LC’s Sydney Kersten.

“It’s fun to have the two sisters together,” Northcutt said. “They are cohesive. I had met Sierra several times and knew she’d fit right in. We had a talk at the beginning of the season of what they could achieve with that one-two punch.”

They helped Mt. Spokane to a ground-breaking league victory and there could be bigger things to come down the road.

California revelation

It was quite the Tuesday for Mt. Spokane when the boys golf team, fresh from its appearance in the Champions Invitational at Palm Springs, Calif., put what they learned to good use back home.

The Wildcats gave their school a GSL sweep with a team record 369 on their home course at Wandermere Golf Club for a 15-shot victory over Central Valley and LC, with Mead two strokes further back.

“I stayed up Tuesday night waiting for the scores,” Northcutt said. “When I saw the boys won, I yelled so loud I scared my dog. It was one of those moments you can’t describe.”

Tye Morrison’s individual winning 70 and Austin Billeter’s third-place 71 led five Wildcats among the top 12, all at 77 or better.

The weekend before the two juniors had been part of a 42-school western regional tournament featuring some of the best junior golfers in the country. Mt. Spokane made the team cut to play both days and finished 22nd – “which, given the caliber of talent, was OK,” coach Greg Schultz said. Billeter shot 242 for 54 holes, Morrison and Zack Spencer 246 at the two-course Terra Lago Country Club. The second day was played over a 7,400-yard championship layout. Schultz said it was a true desert course that spelled trouble as there was a lateral hazard off the fairways and the tournament was played in 75-degree temperatures with 45-mph winds.

“I thought it was amazing to see all the competition from the other states, especially the South,” said Billeter, a golfer since age 10. “Texas has some of the best amateurs in the nation.”

Teammate Morrison, who has been around golf all his life, echoed his teammate’s sentiments.

“First off, it was definitely an experience,” Morrison said. “It motivated us and we came back wanting to dominate.”

Mt. Spokane certainly did after having lost to LC a week earlier in the GSL opener.

“I was not the least bit surprised (by the loss to the Tigers),” Schultz said. “Exactly as predicted, four teams are tightly bunched and it will continue. The only way to separate is to go low.”

Record-setting soph

Kellogg sophomore golfer Kaceelyn Poutta tied a women’s course 9-hole record when she shot 35 at Mirror Lake Golf Course. She followed that with a winning 36 at Pinehurst during high school competition. Poutta is the defending Idaho 3A state champion.

Tennis teams tight

Approaching the midpoint of the GSL season, three boys and girls teams remain undefeated.

The boys trio of Gonzaga Prep, Ferris (both 4-0) and Lewis and Clark sort things out next week. The defending champion Saxons are at LC Tuesday and Gonzaga on Thursday.

University, Mead and Central Valley girls are perfect as well. The Panthers are at the Bears on Tuesday. The Titans host CV a week later and Mead to conclude the season on May 3.

Thursday afternoon, West Valley girls edged Pullman 4-3 in a match between Great Northern League unbeatens.