Jesuit boys golf smokes state field, claims first place
No more second place.
No more questions about an evaporated eight-stroke lead, dealing with pressure or exorcising demons.
The past stumbling blocks and crushing misfortune of last season are nothing more than faded memories now.
As senior Matthew Tennant threw on the Jesuit Crusader mascot ensemble and ran out in front of his triumphant boys golf teammates for one of many impromptu photo shoots at Quail Valley Golf Course, reality began to settle in.
A year after letting the Class 6A state championship slip away to Lake Oswego, the Crusaders, at last, were 6A state champions. Ripping up QVGC with a dazzling 293 on the first day of action that built a nearly insurmountable 21-stroke lead going into day two, Jesuit rode that cushion to a two-day 602 total to beat Clackamas (625), Sunset (627), Lake Oswego (635) and South Medford on Tuesday.
"I don't even know what happened last year, all I know is we're state champs now," Jesuit senior Daniel Terrell said. "Last year was a little bit of disbelief. This year is doing what we expected to do. I think we're just content with how it went and how we played."
The Lakers, coming into state, were the five-time defending state champions. Their fistful of rings did little, however, to intimidate Jesuit's five-some of fixated individuals, all who were focused on one goal — redemption. Terrell took second overall, shooting a two-day total of 144. Fellow senior Nick Timm placed fifth (150), sophomore Austin Carnese tied for sixth (151), freshman Johnny Ward tied for 13th (154) and junior Samir Dutta tied for 33rd.
"(Lake Oswego) has dominated us and they've been a great team the past five years, but the reign of Jesuit golf starts today," Timm said. "This is a great team. I couldn't have picked five better guys to spend it with. It's a great feeling. We got it done. We worked hard and finally got it done."
Terrell said Tennant, who wasn't among the quintet of state competing Crusaders but still was out in full support of his team on Monday and Tuesday, was huge in instilling faith and firm belief that Jesuit was completely capable of greatness.
"The biggest difference was confidence," Tennant said. "Last year we came into the state tournament kind of uncertain of our abilities. But, this year, the guys came in with confidence not just in themselves, but also confidence in each other."
For Terrell and Timm, both of whom swallowed last year's state championship loss especially hard, state was a shot a retribution. Both seniors took it upon themselves to beat Lake Oswego when Timm fired a tournament-low 70 and Terrell closed with a 73 on the first day to set the tone for the rest of the team and the remainder of the tournament.
Timm was the one who guaranteed Jesuit's state championship two weeks ago after the Crusaders completed an undefeated regular season and won the Metro League. His self-assurance, worn outwardly on his neon-green striped black golf shirt for all to see, came not from unfounded swagger, but the hard work he, Terrell and the three Crusader underclassmen deposited over the past 12 months.
"I have so much trust and so much confidence in my team and that the other four guys would play well," Timm said. "We knew (Dutta, Ward, Carnese) were good, but in one year they came great."
On Tuesday, the Crusaders were trailed by a large gallery of parents, relatives and current players who made the trip to Banks following them from hole-to-hole offering cheers, reassurance, cordial smiles and an overall ease to the Jesuit players as they traversed the links. And, as the Crusaders walked passed each other on opposite fairways or crossed one another's paths between holes, there was nothing but good vibes and affirmative words passed back and forth.
"Golf doesn't seem like a team sport because you're not playing directly with them on the course, but your team carries you when you're down," Dutta said. "They support you no matter what. The whole team came out, that's what I was shocked at. In the past years, that didn't happen. I had a pretty bad week, but I got nothing but support. Nobody said 'Oh you've could've done a lot better.' I don't have any regret with how I played because I know we got the job as a team."
The intermittent rain and blustery 30-40 MPH winds made the course conditions dicey at best on Tuesday. Setting a tournament scoring record as a team seemed well within reason before Mother Nature intervened.
But with a big lead to fall back on and overwhelming positive reinforcement at its back, Jesuit was able to smoothly sail to the state crown.
"It was great because we all had our fair share of bad shots, so to see a friendly face or someone to find comfort in was good," Carnese said. "It definitely got us through the round."
It didn't take long for Timm and Terrell to start trumpeting the talents of their underclassmen understudies and what the future holds. Each senior will move on to the collegiate ranks, but they've established a way of play that'll live on in Ward, Dutta and Carnese who will be back next season to defend the chip.
"I've known these guys for two or three months and I feel like we're brothers now," Ward said. "It's kind of sad to see these guys going away, but we're going to keep the dynasty going for them."
Sunset's Kevin Orr placed third overall with a two-day total of 148. Sunset senior Brody Hval (152) tied for ninth overall. Freshman Danny Hext (160) tied for 21st. Senior Bryce Justrom (167) tied for 41st and sophomore Nicholas Lee shot 178 over two days to tie for 66th place.
Beaverton made it to the state tournament for the first time since 1999. The Beavers finished seventh on the first day but ended up taking ninth overall as a team. Freshman Mateo Fuenmayor tied for 19th with a 159.
Beaverton sophomore Curtis Posner (167) tied for 41st. Sophomore Joe Ricci (177) tied for 66th place, senior Cole Johanson tied for 66th place and senior Michael Kahn took 83rd.