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Beavs, Saders, Cards to battle in girls golf race

Lincoln is the favorite to unseat 11-time Metro champ Jesuit


by: MILES VANCE - WHACK - Beaverton sophomore Gigi Stoll (shown here at the 2012 Class 6A state tournament) is back to lead the Beavers after winning the 6A individual title last season.

The Metro League just about had it all in girls golf last year.

Jesuit’s girls battled to second place in the Class 6A state tournament at Trysting Tree, and Beaverton freshman Gigi Stoll blew the field away to win her first individual crown by 10 strokes.

Then, after a painful round of budget cuts at the end of the 2012 spring season, it looked like the Beaverton School District teams might have nothing at all.

In the end, thanks to a determined fund-raising effort and great corporate support over the summer, the Metro League was able to reinstate golf for 2013-15 and teed off its first 2013 tournament on March 18.

“We as a league are just happy to be back swinging the clubs again,” said Beaverton School District Golf Committee Chair Brad Harvey — also the Beaverton boys coach — crediting Nike Golf and First Tech Federal Credit Union, two of the key sponsors in the fundraising process that restored golf for the 2013-15 seasons. “Without their help, and the community’s, the Metro League would have been history. Now we are back to make (history) rather than remember it.”

As to this year’s league race, Jesuit is aiming for a 12th straight league title, but is actually a slight underdog to this season’s favorite — Lincoln.

“Lincoln is the team to beat this year,” said Beaverton coach Donna Smoot. “They have great depth, talent and experience.”

“Lincoln looks very strong this year,” said Jesuit coach Katy Williams. “They have a tight bunch of girls with experience, and Bobbi (Breslin) is a veteran coach who has done a lot over the years.”

Beyond the Cardinals, both Jesuit and Beaverton — which took fourth at state last year — have their fair share of supporters too.

“Jesuit is the perennial favorite every year, but both Lincoln and Beaverton are very strong and will challenge for the top spot,” said Sunset coach Brent Buell.

“The race for the top spot will be a challenging one this year,” added Southridge coach Pat Buckhalter. “Beaverton, Jesuit and Lincoln are very strong and they will continue to challenge each other on a week by week basis. It is anyone’s guess who will come out of it on top, but will be fun to watch.”

Following are previews of the Metro League’s six Beaverton-area varsity teams.

ALOHA

ALOHA — There are no guarantees and certainly no days off, but the 2013 Metro season promises to be better for Aloha.

The Warriors bring back five varsity players from a year ago and hope to use that experience to their advantage this year. This year’s lineup is led by those five returners — juniors Tracy Brown and Rachel Lara, and seniors Christina Budeselic, Maile Kust and Makayla Stackhouse.

“Our three best players are Tracy Brown, Christina Budeselic and Maile Kust, and I think all three of them have a chance to finish somewhere in the middle of the league,” said Aloha coach Brian Bakanec, whose roster also includes junior newcomer Madilyn Hinz.

That said, the Warriors know that climbing the ladder in the ultra-competitive Metro League is a very, very big task. In 2012, the Warriors tied Southridge for sixth place in the league race.

“I see us finishing probably in last place or second-to-last place,” Bakanec said. “We have a big team, but most of our golfers are very inexperienced and only play golf in the spring. Our key to success is staying positive and not worrying about other teams’ scores and experienced players.”

BEAVERTON

BEAVERTON — Beaverton’s girls made the 2012 season one for the record books.

The Beavers took second in the Metro League, made the state tournament for the first time since 1993, and posted their best finish at state (fourth) since ‘77. Oh yeah, and freshman phenom Gigi Stoll blitzed the field with a one-under par 143 that gave her the individual 6A title by 10 strokes and made her just the second Beaverton golfer in school history to win a state crown.

Now, the Beavers want more.

“Our goal as a team is to finish as well as we did last year,” said Beaverton coach Donna Smoot.

To do it, Beaverton will once again need great things from Stoll — now a sophomore — and fellow returners Brittney Paterson (a senior) and Kylie Martens (a junior).

“We will obviously look to Gigi as one of our team leaders,” Smoot said. “She is just coming off a great basketball season and still making the transition to golf. That said, she shot a 79 ... at (Tualatin Country Club) and a 75 to win our first Metro tournament.”

That said, Paterson and Martens will also play key roles in their team’s success.

“Brittney ... is really a hard worker and has taken all the steps to become a better golfer. Each year she has lowered her scores,” Smoot said, adding that Martens “spent a lot of the offseason at the golf course working on her game. She also has really improved over the last couple of years.”

Freshmen Marlene Spalding and Madison Kirby round out this year’s team.

JESUIT

BEAVERTON — It’s 11 and counting at Jesuit, but no one’s counting on anything in 2013.by: MILES VANCE - FOCUSED - Jesuit junior Sarah Craven is back to lead her team in search of another Metro League title and state tournament berth after earning second-team all-league honors a year ago.

Jesuit’s girls have won 11 straight Metro League championships — every one since 2002 to be exact — but know that their margin for error might be slimmer than ever in 2013 thanks to challenges from both Lincoln and Beaverton. The Crusaders’ situation is made even more interesting due to the graduation of three all-leaguers from last year’s state runner-up — they were second for a third straight year — and the fact that the Jesuit lineup doesn’t include a single senior.

“This year should be interesting,” said Jesuit coach Katy Williams. “This is the youngest team we’ve ever had. We have some returning players that will serve as good leaders, and our key to success will be using all of our team and its hard work to achieve our goals.”

There’s talent, though, led by junior team captain Helen Davis (a first-team all-leaguer who placed ninth at state) and junior Sarah Craven (a second-teamer who finished 49th at state). Joining that pair in the varsity lineup will be junior Monica Regan, and sophomores Riley Pendergast, Michelle Tennant, Annelise Cushing and Natalie Kinsel.

“Helen Davis is our captain and has the most experience on our very young team,” Williams said, adding that “the entire Metro League (is) improving, which is great see, despite the budget woes in the Beaverton School district.”

SOUTHRIDGE

BEAVERTON — The Skyhawks are going to work.

The Southridge girls golf team, which tied for sixth in Metro play a year ago, will be very young in 2013 and knows that its best days likely lay ahead of it, but the Hawks are ready to start the process of improving right now. Southridge most recently won a berth in the Class 6A state tournament back in 2008.

“We are young and we will not figure in the (Metro League) race, but I have a group of outstanding young ladies who are committed to getting better and having fun with the sport,” said Southridge coach Pat Buckhalter.

This year’s Southridge team will be led by captains Nicole Nosler (a senior) and Elizabeth Mann (a junior), as well as by sophomore Kelly McClean. Together, that trio will set the pace for 2013, and — Buckhalter and the Skyhawks hope — plant the seeds for better things ahead in the future.

“Right now Elizabeth and Kelly are our strongest players,” Buckhalter said. “We are building to improve on a week-by-week basis. I am very happy with the group we have this year and I see a lot of drive in them.”

Joining that trio in the varsity lineup will be sophomores Marissa King, Megan Ellertson, Krysta Hamilton, Terah Hamilton and Kyra Anbe.

SUNSET

CEDAR MILL — The Metro League may be younger than ever before in 2013, but Sunset’s girls are, without question, this year’s pacesetters on that front.

The 2013 Apollos’ varsity roster features three freshmen and two sophomores — that means no juniors or seniors — but is still hoping to be competitive in the powerful Metro League. Sunset last reached the state tournament as a team back in 2004.

“We are extremely young ... so the key is how quickly our young players can get acclimated to playing in competitive matches against very good competition,” said Sunset coach Brent Buell.

Sunset freshman Ellen Secor and sophomore Miranda Bass will be the team’s top two players this year, and each should be ready to battle the league’s best players.

“Ellen Secor is our most dedicated golfer in terms of off-season practice and playing in both summer and winter tournaments. She has a natural swing and just needs experience to take that next step,” Buell said, adding that Bass “is our only golfer with a full season of Metro League tournaments under her belt so we’ll look to her for leadership throughout the season.”

Also due for varsity time this year at Sunset are freshman Lauren Kim, sophomore Kaitlyn Stewart and freshman Emily Kim.

WESTVIEW

ROCK CREEK — Westview was in the mix last year.

The Wildcats were young, talented and right there in the running with the Metro League’s top teams, eventually finishing a solid fourth in the 2012 season.

To repeat that success in 2013, however, will take an incredible effort.

This year’s Westview team will be led by junior Jennifer Ko — she was a first-team all-leaguer in 2012 and later finished eighth at state — but must deal with the loss of Ana Woo, who decided to graduate early this year, and Jenny Jeong, who decided not to play in 2013.

“I feel we should do quite well and finish in the middle of the league,” said Westview coach Bobby Fernandez.

Joining Ko in the Wildcats’ lineup will be senior Bridget Eby, junior Alex Pax and sophomores Rika Nakajima and Vivian Kim.

Ko, Fernandez said, said Ko should be “one of top players again this year,” adding that Eby “has improved after taking up the game last year,” while Nakajima “will be playing No. 2” this year.

“This is a rebuilding year for us (but) I have a very good feeling about Jennifer doing well this year,” Fernandez said. “Her game has improved over the summer.”




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