LO boys golfers have high hopes
The Lake Oswego boys golf team enters this spring having finished first and second in state the past two seasons respectively and this year's title might be the Lakers' to lose as well.
Lake Oswego returns a handful of varsity players from last year's team and is loaded with talent.
The Lakers are so deep that they might be able to field a top-10 caliber team in the state with their Nos. 6-12 players.
"We're very fortunate to be so deep with talent. Honestly our 10th through 12th players could probably be in the top three for a lot of teams," coach Jason Owens said.
As such, there is plenty of healthy in-team competition among the Lakers as they look to push each other.
"There's always one spot open for players to qualify and the kids have to perform in league matches to hold on to their spot," Owens said.
Lake Oswego is led by senior Max Carter who has won multiple district titles and will play golf for the University of Oregon next year. He will also look to add an individual state title this season.
"It's definitely on Max's radar but we have so many kids who might have a chance to win it," Owens said.
Adam Ruben also returns for Lake Oswego this year and is getting looks from multiple D-I colleges.
Freshman Cole Madey has had an outstanding start to the season. He shot a 69 in the opening league tournament and followed it with a 75.
His brother Clayton Madey has also been impressive.
A pair of seniors have also been putting together strong starts to the year in Harrison Moir and Charlie Cowan.
Two freshmen have each cracked the varsity rotation in the first two league matches with Alex Wrenn and Riley Elmes each putting together solid rounds.
"All of these kids have played golf for a long time and most of them have known each other for years," Owens said.
A handful of Lake Oswego's players have also been working closely with former PGA professional Brian Heninger.
"That's a rare thing for a team to be able to hang out with a guy who's won twice on the PGA tour," Owens said.
With such a skilled team, Owens knows that much of his job is about helping the Lakers navigate the mental aspect of the game.
"A lot of kids have good mechanics but don't know how balance it and how to stay positive and focus on the task at hand," Owens said.
The Lakers have high expectations this year and, once again, will see some of their top competition in the state within their own league.
Lake Oswego has won both of its first two league matches, narrowly edging out West Linn by four and six strokes.
"I think if these guys keep doing the right things another state title could come to them," Owens said.
Lake Oswego's next league match is at Persimmon on Monday.
A pair of seasoned veterans and a pair of promising freshmen will lead this year's Lakeridge boys golf team.
The Pacers have two senior captains in David Zhou and Casey Sherrel and both have aspirations to qualify for the state tournament this year.
"That's really our only experience coming back. Casey's been playing No. 1 for us and that takes a different focus to play alongside some of the best players in the state," coach Gary Huffmaster said.
Huffmaster has also been pleased with the early performances from two freshmen, Cade Lawson and Jake Reiff.
"They have a lot of promise and potential," Huffmaster said.
Reiff turned in the team's low score of its most recent league tournament at Stone Creek, firing a 79.
"Both of those guys were visibly nervous before teeing off in the first tournament of the year and they've improved significantly," Huffmaster said.
Vincent Chia has also been strong in two league tournaments.
"We have a strong core. Right now it's just about getting experience as fast as possible," Huffmaster said.
The Pacers know they have a tough task in front of them as they will square off against some of the state's top teams on a weekly basis.
Lakeridge has finished in fifth in both of its league tournaments this year but narrowed the cap between itself and Canby on Monday.