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Girls golf team faces some growing pains

There's no questioning the abilities of many of the players on the West Linn girls golf team, but the squad could use a little more experience. That lack of experience has been the team's biggest stumbling block so far this season.

Coming into the season, coach Ron Wells wasn't quite sure what to expect from a team that is comprised of two sophomores and three freshmen. It seems everything they encounter on the golf course is new to them.

'They have the (needed) skill level, but not a lot of playing experience,' Wells said after his team finished fourth at this week's league tournament at Stone Creek Golf Course in Oregon City.

The girls possibly could have finished higher at Monday's event but it seemed everyone was a bit rusty from spring break. One of the players spent her week on a tour ship cruise along the coast of Mexico while one of the players went to Disneyland and another spent the week in Cancun, Mexico.

All three trips sounded like a lot of fun but none of them left much time to play any golf on the side.

So, it wasn't too surprising that the squad turned in a 206 team score at Stone Creek. The Lions were led by sophomore Brianna Ruiz with a 47. She was followed by Kelsey Prentice with a 50, but that round included an 11 on one hole.

In addition, Josie Sells, the team's other sophomore, shot a 52. And Sydney Nopson and Ellie Enderley, a pair of freshmen, followed with a 57 and a 58.

Those scores were higher than the team would normally shoot, but they're not that far behind league's No. 2 finisher, Lakeridge, which registered a 195 team score on Monday. However, the Pacers are also expected to improve their scores after getting a chance to rebound from their spring break endeavors.

So, the Lions definitely face a challenge in their pursuit of one of the league's two post-season berths.

'If the stars are aligned just right, I think we could get second,' Wells said. '… To do well at district, everybody would have to play their best.'

Next year could be West Linn's best chance to do something at state with a couple of strong players who are currently eighth graders waiting in the wings. In the meantime, Wells just hopes he can convince this year's group to play some of the OGA tournaments during the summer.

'They want to play well but they just lack the playing experience,' the coach said.