Greater Spokane League individuals and teams are chasing titles and history at state golf tournaments this week in the Vancouver area.
The Mt. Spokane girls, led by 2012 champion Sierra Bezdicek, have come close to winning the school’s first state title in any sport. The Wildcats finished second each of the last three years.
“We have a very good opportunity,” coach Eleen Northcutt said. “These girls have worked for four years and we’ve always come in second. Now I think it’s time to stop being the bridesmaid and be the bride.”
Mt. Spokane claimed five of District 8’s seven 3A state berths. Bezdicek, who finished second in 2011 and 2013, is joined at state by freshman Megan Billeter, sophomore Cailin Spencer and seniors Brianna Jensen and Hailey Warren. Four of the five played at state a year ago. University’s Katie Ochoa and Hanna Gropp earned the other two berths.
“Sierra is in prime position,” Northcutt said.
The two-day tournament, which begins Wednesday, will be held at Lewis River Golf Course in Woodland for the second straight year.
Mt. Spokane snagged four of the seven state berths, led by senior Nick Renner, who shared District 8 medalist honors with Shadle Park freshman Mitchell Weipert.
“If you would have asked me at the beginning of the year if we’d get four state berths I’d have jumped up and down and said, ‘Hooray,’ ” Wildcats coach Greg Schultz said.
The Wildcats finished fifth at state last year at Tri-Mountain in Ridgefield, also the site this year. Renner, Sam Stiles and Austin Meng are state returners. Senior Ethan Wood finished fifth at district.
“It helps (having state experience) to know what’s around the corner because there are quite a few blind shots,” Schultz said. “We could do some good stuff.”
Lewis and Clark junior Sierra Kersten returns to the site of her 2013 state title, Club Green Meadows in Vancouver. Her toughest competition last year, Bellarmine Prep’s Olivia Benzin and Washington State recruit Alivia Brown, also return.
Kersten defeated Benzin in a playoff last year.
“She’s just been so consistent all year,” LC coach Michelle Grafos said. “The girls she’s playing against are absolutely great golfers. I think it’s going to be a great battle.”
District 8’s six state berths went to LC’s Kersten and Kassidy Krug, Gonzaga Prep’s Kelly Hooper and Hannah Rieckers and Mead’s Lydia Kim and Emily Herbster. Hooper finished tied for 10th last year. Kim tied for 12th.
Bellarmine Prep, with five qualifiers, is favored to win its fifth straight title.
Ferris will rely on Eric Ansett and Tanner Comes in hopes of improving on its sixth-place finish last year at Camas Meadows. Comes tied for eighth in 2013, Ansett tied for 22nd.
Both Saxons figure to be in the title hunt. Ansett was the GSL Player of the Year with a 70.5 scoring average. Comes was right behind at 70.75. Ansett shot a two-round total of 136 to edge Comes by one shot at district.
Mead seniors Matthew Heckel and Graham Gustafson and juniors Michael Brutocao of Gonzaga Prep and Isaac Hall of LC also qualified.