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Viking golfers return plenty of experience

GOLF: Forest Grove boys will bring back four of their top six players from last year

It's not often that a coach wishes for more rain, but Ron Romanick is worried that his Forest Grove boys golf team is getting spoiled by all the early-season sunshine.

'We've been pretty fortunate with the weather, that's for sure,' Romanick said. 'But in some ways, with the weather we normally get during the season and the fact that we have to play in the rain, it might actually hurt us.'

Rain or shine, Romanick should have a solid squad at his disposal in 2008. The Vikings return four of their top six contributors from a year ago, including sophomore Jarek Swanson, who finished ninth at the Pacific Conference district meet and 14th at the OSAA 6A State Golf Championships.

'Jarek is one of the top golfers in our league,' Romanick said. 'He missed being All-State by one stroke last year. I'm expecting another good year from him.'

Swanson is joined by three other returners - senior Joe Strother and juniors Luke Peters and Colby Saxe. All three saw significant varsity action last season.

'We had six guys take turns last year and four of those six are back,' Romanick said. 'We're optimistic, although golf is the type of game where you're never sure how your swing is going to be on any given day.'

Other golfers who could factor into the mix this year are senior Jesus Gonzalez and freshman Hayden Andrew. Both competed in the Vikings' season-opening tournament at Tualatin Country Club last Monday.

'All of them will be able to contribute, there's no doubt about that,' Romanick said. 'The bottom line is whether we can get them all to contribute on the same day.'

Gonzalez posted the low round of the tournament for Forest Grove, shooting an 80. Swanson shot an 82, but Romanick said the overall performance wasn't quite in line with what he expects from the Vikings in 2008.

'We're not where we want to be quite yet, but we've had a good week of practice and I'm hoping that we'll bounce back,' he said. 'The truth is that we shot a 356 [as a team] at our first tournament and we know we didn't play well, but we still weren't that far behind Tigard or Tualatin.'

The Vikings' next match will be on March 31 against Newberg at Chehalem Glenn Golf Course before returning home to host a Pacific Conference meet at Forest Hills Golf Course on April 7.