Junior Hannah Swanson is among the state's top young female golfers

Staff photo by Chase AllgoodThis could be the year for the Forest Grove girls golf squad. Numbers are not high — only six players have turned out — but quality is.

Of course, practically any high school squad would be off to a decent start with a player of Hannah Swanson’s caliber on the squad.

After finishing 11th at the Class 6A state tournament as a freshman in 2011, Swanson tied for ninth a season ago. And on the junior golf scene, she won the Oregon Junior Amateur and was named the Oregon Junior Golf Girls Player of the Year.

“She’s definitely got the potential,” said Bobby Rymer, the Lady Vikings’ head coach and a golf professional at Pumpkin Ridge in North Plains. “I think there’s going to be some good things coming from Hannah this year for sure. She’s got the drive.”

Swanson was Forest Grove’s sole representative at the state tournament the last two years, though she and her teammates got a taste of what qualifying collectively might be like when they sat in second place at the 2012 Pacific Conference tournament after the first day before slipping down the standings.

“We were right in place to be that second team into state and didn’t have quite as good of a day as what we needed on the second day, and Glencoe barely edged us out,” Rymer recalled.

The good news is that in addition to Swanson, three other girls from last year’s team are back in juniors Emily Keller, Amanda Horne and Madison Woods. Senior Hayley Evers and freshman Morgan Lohrer round out the squad this season.

“I’ve kind of got some expectations, and I think a couple of the girls do, too,” Rymer said. “I know that they would really love to make it to state.”

As for the boys, Rymer said he expects a mid-pack league finish similar to that of the 2012 squad.

Just two seniors graduated last spring, and this year Drew Robinson is the team’s sole senior on a team of 10. He was the second man on last year’s team, behind the graduated Kyle Strickland.

“Drew is definitely our No. 1 boy,” Rymer observed. “Pretty consistently in the upper 70s, low 80s. … I’m not sure if he has plans of taking it to the next level, but Drew definitely has the talent — great player, good head on his shoulders and driven to get better.”

Among the rest of this season’s group, Rymer expects junior Ethan Thursam to be the team’s second golfer, and he said four players are battling for the final three varsity spots. They are sophomores Ryan Colter, Justin Brady, Nick Kroeplin and Branden Thompson.

“They’ll kind of be in a dogfight challenging each other each week … for those varsity spots,” Rymer said.

The boys opened up their season on Monday at a Pacific Conference tournament staged at Tualatin Country Club, while the girls got going on Tuesday at Michelbrook Country Club in McMinnville.

The boys district tournament is slated for May 6-7 at Banks’ Quail Valley Golf Course, while the girls district tournament is scheduled on the same days at Forest Hills Golf Course in Cornelius.

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