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Hawks, Crusaders get ready to rumble

The Metro League boys golf race will this year feature Lincoln as well
by: Miles Vance LETT IT BE — Southridge junior Nigel Lett won Metro League medallist honors last year and hopes to lead his team to a state tournament berth in 2011.

It isn't always easy to say this about the Metro League - often one of the state's best in boys golf - but the Metro will be even better in 2011.

Make no mistake about it, the Metro was very, very good in 2010, with Westview fourth at state, Jesuit seventh, and Westview senior Gabe Robles-Ellis winning a share of the individual state championship.

That said, the league ought to be even tougher and more competitive this time around.

Perennial power Jesuit - a five-time state champion since 1996 - brings back three players from last year's varsity and adds a talented junior transfer, Southridge returns the Metro's top two players from 2010 and seems well-positioned to make a run at its first league crown, and the addition of Lincoln - a 2010 state qualifier - adds even more intrigue.

'Since I've been head coach at Southridge, Jesuit has won Metro League every single year, so they have to be the favorites,' said Southridge coach Scott Baranick. And 'with the addition of Lincoln, a solid team with a golf pro as their coach, the Metro League has only gotten tougher.'

'It's always a good battle between Westview, Southridge and Jesuit,' said Aloha coach Dennis Joule. But 'this should be the year for Southridge.'

Indeed, Southridge - led by junior Nigel Lett (the 2010 Metro medallist) and senior Conner Barr - seems to be an early favorite among league coaches to win in 2011.

'I'd have to say that Southridge is the favorite this year,' said Jesuit coach Jay Minsker. 'We struggled late last year, and they were one of the best teams in the state and they didn't get to go' to state.

'Southridge is the best team in the league. (It) is stacked experienced players,' said Westview coach Forbes Robinson. 'I think they could sweep every Metro tournament this year. Jesuit and Lincoln will probably battle for the second state berth.'

Following are previews of the five Beaverton-area Metro League varsity boys golf teams.

Editor's note: The Valley Times was unable to make contact with Sunset coach Brian Kienlen prior to its Wednesday print deadline.

ALOHA

ALOHA - Step-by-step, day-by-day and shot-by-shot, Aloha's boys are just trying to get better.

The Warriors bring back four players from last year's varsity team, add a talented new freshman, and are hoping for better things in 2011.

'For us, it's about having more guys on the team who can definitely produce scores in the 80s,' said Aloha coach Dennis Joule. 'We definitely have some different goals for ourselves, and right now, it's to consistently get four scores in the 80s.'

This year's Warrior crew will be led by freshman David Brock, junior Cory Sinner, and junior Jake Memmott.

'Brock definitely has a shot at making a name for himself in the Metro League,' Joule said. 'He's active in the (American Junior Golf Association) and he can shoot in the low 80s and 70s.'

Sinner, meanwhile, is extremely long off the tee and, according to Joule, can produce solid scores when he's 'on,' while Memmott may be the team's most consistent player.

'He's in my top-five every year,' Joule said of Memmott.

The Aloha varsity also includes two more returners from the 2010 squad, junior Jordan Whiteley and senior Brad Wirth.

Together, that group hopes to make Aloha more competitive in what is often the toughest boys golf league in the state.

BEAVERTON

BEAVERTON - It may not be Beaverton's year this year, but the Beavers think they can see good times ahead.

This year's team will be led by two experienced seniors and two talented sophomores, and also includes three freshman that may have a full four years on the Beaver varsity team.

'We're looking to the future, and that's nice,' said Beaverton coach Brad Harvey. 'We brought two freshmen in last year and three more this year - the talent is coming in again.'

Seniors Cameron Huber and Jacob Karns will likely see varsity time throughout the year, though sophomores Ben Lawrence and Andrew Pryor are expected to lead the team in scoring.

'What really impressed me about Lawrence is he really took golf and made it his thing. He worked all through the winter, stepped up and wanted to be a golfer,' Harvey said, adding that Pryor has 'turned the corner a bit this year. He's got the desire to do better.'

And the race for No. 1 between Lawrence and Pryor should fuel the team throughout the season.

'I think their competition will help the team,' Harvey said.

Junior Ford Hockley is also battling for varsity time this year with those freshmen newcomers, Jack Haner ('He's right there for the fifth spot,' Harvey said), Auddie Reynolds and Austin Kihn.

JESUIT

BEAVERTON - Everybody knew Jesuit was going to be pretty good this year.

After all, the Crusaders are the defending Metro co-champions, and they brought back three of the players who helped the team to a seventh-place finish at state in 2010.

And then they added a transfer - junior Eric Cech - who may just be good enough to battle with the Metro League's best.

'He's been a pleasant surprise,' Jesuit coach Jay Minsker said of Cech, a player who spent the past two years at a golf academy in Florida, then moved back to Oregon. 'He's very accurate. He has a good short game. He's a good putter, and he fits in well with the guys.'

Jesuit's returners from 2010 include seniors Steven DaSilva and Thomas Arand, and junior Trey Johnson, and that group will play a huge role in their team's success this season. DaSilva (a second-team all-leaguer last year) and Johnson tied for 19th at state last year while Arand was 54th.

'The guys we're counting on are Thomas, Steven and Trey,' Minsker said. 'They played every week the last year, so we're going to count on them a lot.'

Newcomers to the varsity team this year are Cech, juniors Joe DaSilva and Daniel Chalmers, and sophomore Evan Kalomiris.

Together, that group hopes to lead Jesuit to a seventh straight Metro League crown.

'It's going to be a group effort,' Minsker said. 'On any given day, it could be a different guy. The success of our team will depend on who plays No. 4 and No. 5 and how well they play.'

SOUTHRIDGE

BEAVERTON - The Skyhawks believe.

Southridge believes that it can snap an eight-year dry spell - the team hasn't reached the state tournament since 2002 - and further, the Skyhawks believe they can win their first-ever Metro League title.

'Our goal is to win Metro this year,' said Southridge coach Scott Baranick. 'I feel as though we have the talent to win the league.'

And no one's arguing with Baranick's point of view, not with the top two golfers in the league back from 2010 - junior Nigel Lett, the '10 Metro medallist, and senior Conner Barr - a year when the team had the league's best scoring average but finished third in the race for the league's two state berths.

Lett led the league is scoring at 71.8 strokes per round while Barr was second at 74.5, and at state, Barr finished 31st and Lett 33rd.

'Nigel and Conner finished (first and second) in the Metro League last year, and there is no reason they shouldn't repeat that feat,' Baranick said. 'Both have put in a lot of time over the offseason and both have won tournaments this summer.'

There's more talent back too, notably in junior Justin Lee, but also in additional varsity returners Andrew Moore (a senior) and Kaden Arnold (a junior). Varsity newcomers include senior Myles Hyde, sophomore Matt Hanna, and sophomore Tyler Barrett.

'After those (Lett and Barr), we look to a combination of players to fill out the rest of our varsity lineup,' Baranick said. 'Justin Lee has improved his game substantially and can be counted on to shoot in the 70s on a regular basis. And due to the competitiveness of our team, I feel that two or three (more) players will emerge.'

SUNSET

CEDAR MILL - Sunset has been there before.

And as tough as the 2011 Metro League field looks - and it looks very, very tough - the Apollos believe they can compete once again.

Sunset brings back three players from its 2010 varsity team, and those three - senior Morris Kim (a first-team all-Metro selection in 2009), junior Trey Pflug, and senior Bryan Nicol - hope to lead the Apollos back to the promised land of the Class 6A state tournament yet again in 2011.

That said, the Apollos know that their challenge may be greater than ever, what with Southridge aiming for a first league championship, Jesuit gunning for its seventh straight, and perennial power Westview in the mix as well.

Still, Sunset - with its three aforementioned returners on board to lead the way in 2011 - has a solid core to build around this year, the league's longest tenured coach in Brian Kienlen, and a long history of success in the Metro League and at state.

While the Apollos haven't reached state as a team since 2008 - Jesuit and Westview have gone 1-2 in each of the past two Metro League seasons - Sunset had been there four times in the previous six seasons and believes it just might be able to do it again this time.

WESTVIEW

ROCK CREEK - The youth movement is on at Westview this year, and while the 2011 version of the Wildcats may not be quite as good as last year's version, they should still be competitive nonetheless.

Granted, the bar is set pretty high at Westview, where the Wildcats are coming off a Metro co-championship and a 2010 that saw the team finish fourth at state and senior Gabe Robles-Ellis share the Class 6A individual title.

'We lost four seniors last year, so we are young,' said Westview coach Forbes Robinson, who has led his team to state in each of the past two seasons. 'I think this team will show more improvement throughout the season than any other team in the league. By the end of the year, we could finish third or fourth in the league.'

This year's Wildcat crew will be led by sophomore Nick Baines - the team's lone varsity returner from 2010 - and by talented freshman Trent Glasgow.

'I expect Nick to be our top performer this year - he has a great chance to go to state as an individual and has the most tournament experience of anyone on the team,' Robinson said. And 'Trent will make a solid contribution this year. He and Nick have already shot under par at practice multiple times.'

Freshman Brandon Keller, senior Kevin Goff, and sophomore Alec Fourie will round out the Wildcats' varsity roster, and their success will play a huge role in just how far the team goes in 2011.

'Kevin has been adhering to a strict workout regimen and is bulking up,' Robinson said. 'I suspect he will be reaching most of the long par fours in regulation this year.'