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Mt. Spokane cruises to title

Mt. Spokane boys golf coach Greg Schultz would be more than happy if his team continues surprising him at every tournament.

The Wildcats claimed the top four spots and five of six 3A state berths at the District 8 Tournament on Tuesday at MeadowWood.

“If somebody had told me we’d get three or four guys in at the start of the season I would have taken it right then and there and said, ‘We’re done,’ ” Schultz said. “For five guys to work as hard as they have, it’s really something.”

Mt. Spokane’s girls, led by medalist Sierra Bezdicek, had four of the seven state qualifiers. Bezdicek, who shot a 78 last week at Indian Canyon in the first round of districts, fired a 73 and finished 22 strokes ahead of teammate Hailey Warren.

“I’m elated,” said coach Eleen Northcutt, whose team finished second behind Hanford at state last year. “I’ve never had four girls go to state. It’s just icing on the cake after winning the GSL.”

The only question in the boys’ tournament was the order of finish and senior Nick Thurston took care of that with a clutch shot on No. 18. As he stood in the fairway, Thurston knew his position on the leaderboard and exactly what he needed to do. A birdie would clinch medalist honors, a par would result in a playoff.

Thurston’s approach shot came to rest just off the right side of the green, about 20 feet from the hole.

“I saw (teammate) Zack (Spencer) miss his putt (on 18). Zack’s my friend, I didn’t want him to miss it,” Thurston said. “I missed the green and I thought, ‘I need to make this chip to win.’ I knew right away. It came off just the way I wanted it to.”

The birdie capped Thurston’s 73 for a two-round total of 149. Spencer (73) and another Wildcat, Nick Renner (74), were one stroke back.

Freshman Sam Stiles (78, 155 total) and Austin Meng (83-160) gave Mt. Spokane five qualifiers for state next week in the Vancouver area. University’s Tyler Burns (82-156) also earned a state berth.

Bezdicek had eight pars and a bogey on the front nine. She made bogey at No. 11 when her short par putt horseshoed around the cup and came back toward her. She responded with an 8-foot birdie putt on the par-5 12th.

She crushed her drive on No. 13, leaving a 45-yard approach. She chunked a wedge and followed with a so-so chip, but knocked in a 15-footer to save par. She made a 7-footer on 16 for par and also had a couple of nice up-and-downs on the back nine.

“It always feels good to come back from a high round with a low one,” said Bezdicek, who beat her sister, Savana, in a playoff for the state title last year. Savana, who recently completed her freshman season at Northern Arizona, walked the course in support of Sierra.

Other state qualifiers were North Central’s Keara Rypien (87-179), Mt. Spokane’s Brianna Jensen (92-182) and Cailin Spencer (90-183) and University’s Katie Ochoa (91-184) and Hanna Gropp (97-198).

“Hanford beat us by three strokes at the Big East tournament,” Northcutt said. “If we can stay up with them, I think we’ll have a chance.”

Bi-District 1A

Chewelah’s Josh Olson earned medalist honors with a 73 and the Cougars took the team title at the District 6/7 1A tournament at Chewelah Golf and Country Club in Chewelah.

Lakeside was second, followed by Omak, Freeman and Chelan.

Lakeside sophomore Nate Yockey and Omak senior Ryder Lewis tied for second after shooting 73s.