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Boys golf team eyes state berth in strong league


The Lions hope they can chase down Canby for second place in the TRL

The West Linn boys golf team is likely one of the top 10 in the state this year but it finds itself in a heated battle just to qualify for the state tournament as a team.

That's because the Three Rivers League is loaded once again with juggernaut Lake Oswego at the top and a very strong Canby team vying with the Lions for that No. 2 slot.

In two league tournaments this year, West Linn has finished in third place, just a handful of strokes behind the Cougars in each instance.

The Lions are young, featuring just one senior, but do have experience at the varsity level and new head coach Brandon Lorain believes the squad has room to improve and should give Canby a serious challenge for a berth at state.

Charlie Moore returns as the team's lone senior and a unanimous co-captain this year.

“A lot of the leadership role has fallen to him and the younger players have a lot of respect for him,” Lorain said.

Junior C.J. Sitton is the team's other captain and is off to an exceptionally strong start to the season. Sitton has been the team's low scorer in each of its events this year and recently captured the Tualatin Invitational by two strokes.

Junior Hayden Coppedge has also been strong after joining the team late following the basketball team's state championship run.

Two sophomores round out the varsity squad in Ryan Kelley and Brett Bushnell.

“We have some other guys who have the ability to develop and maybe challenge for spots this season but that top five has been pretty consistent,” Lorain said.

Currently the team is focusing on being consistent and not trying to simply overpower the golf course.

“We need to play a littler more fundamentally sound and just keep the ball in play,” Lorain said.

The Lions know they have somewhat of an uphill climb ahead of them but the team figures to be in the thick of the battle for a trip to state.

“We know that we're going up against a Division I caliber program every week and so we can only play as hard as we can. Our goal is to battle back and be all even with Canby heading into districts,” Lorain said.

West Linn's next match will be at Oregon Golf Club on Monday.