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Back, and back into the rain

Jesuit girls finish on top in the first rain-soaked match of the '11 Metro League season
by: Miles Vance ON TARGET — Westview senior Nicole Smith played her way to the second-best round of the day in Tuesday’s Metro League match at Claremont Golf Club.

BETHANY - The Metro League's girls golfers picked up on Tuesday, it seemed, almost exactly where they left off 10 months earlier - battling it out in inclement conditions.

The Metro League, which suffered through a consistently wind-blown and rain-soaked 2010 season, opened 2011 in just the same kind of conditions on Tuesday at Claremont Golf Club.

And while this year's Metro race features a distinctly different look - that courtesy of Lincoln's addition to the league - in many ways, it was more of the same. That's because defending champion Jesuit came through, just like it did in every one of last year's Metro tournaments, piling up 249 points in the league's modified Stableford scoring system to easily win the 2011 Metro opener.

'Conditions were rough. The course was very wet and the rain did not let up for a couple of hours,' said Jesuit coach Katy Williams. 'I was really proud of the girls. No one gave up.'

The Crusaders were led on Tuesday by junior Tess Jennings, the reigning Metro League medallist, who racked up 70 points to lead all scorers, while teammate Casey Briggs tied for the second-best score on the day with 67 points.

'I was impressed with Tess Jennings and Casey Briggs,' Williams said. 'To have them both under 80 strokes in those conditions speaks volumes to what they have done in the off-season to prepare. Patience was a key component to their success yesterday.'

The rest of Jesuit's varsity included: Katie Craven, with the fifth-best score of the day at 57 points; Helen Davis, sixth-best at 55; and Amelia Karakas, who tied for 13th at 42.

Lincoln, added to the Metro League in the latest quadrennial alignment by the OSAA, played its way to second in its first-ever Metro tournament, scoring 199 points to outdistance Westview's 188 and Sunset's 183.

The Cardinals' No.1 player came through with 61 points on Tuesday, while two more Lincoln players also cracked the top 10, Kaija Perkiomaki at 52 points and Audrey Horn at 51.

Westview's efforts were led by senior Nicole Smith, a mainstay on the Wildcats' past two state tournament teams. Smith tied Briggs for the second-best score on the day with 67 points, while teammate Stephanie Smalley added 42, Rachel Hershey scored 40 points, and Joan Hong had 39.

Sunset took fourth overall and left knowing that it will need to step up in weeks to come if it hopes to have a chance at a team berth to state.

'Our top players struggled today,' said Sunset coach Brent Buell. 'I don't know if it was first-match jitters or the conditions, but I think we'll see some improvement from them as the year progresses.'

Angela Han set the pace for Sunset on Tuesday with 52 points, tied for seventh-best on the day, with teammate Koleanna Hart adding 50 more (She 'set a personal best with 50 points and played extremely well,' Buell said), Kathryn Joseph 47, and Virginia Vazquez 34.

'I think the course played extremely tough today. It's simply just not built to handle the amount of rainfall we've had,' Buell said. And 'I think we were reminded of how tough the Metro League can be, and that if we don't play well as a group, the standings will reflect it.'

Around the rest of the Metro League, Hailey Speck scored 51 points to lead Southridge, Maddie Harbolt was Beaverton's best with 34 points, and Tracy Brown led Aloha with 20 points.

In upcoming matches, the Metro League plays its next tournament at Langdon Farms Golf Club at noon Tuesday.