Wilsonville girls golf coach Mike Nichols made one regrettable yet understandable error, considering the weather this spring, heading into the regional tournament Monday and Tuesday May 8 and 9.
He forgot to bring sun block.
Despite Wilsonville players leaving Quail Valley Golf Course a different shade than when they entered, they played some of their best golf all season in the most significant tournament to date.
The Wildcats won the regional tournament while senior golfer Kaitlyn Howe finished with the lowest score.
"These girls are so amazing. ... To watch them fight through sunburns, poor starts and weather we are not used to was truly impressive. I am so proud of all of them," Nichols said.
Howe put forth back-to-back exemplary rounds — posting a 76 on day one and a 77 on day two.
"She is striking the ball so well right now. I have never seen her ball-striking this good. I thought she handled the pressure well too. The scary thing is, as well as she played she almost posted an even better score," Nichols said.
Howe will enter her fourth and final state tournament as a state title contender. After finishing in the top seven in her previous three state tournaments, the Wilsonville senior will vie for her first-ever top five spot.
"Hopefully she saves her best for next Monday and Tuesday," Nichols said.
Wilsonville senior Jessica Berry struggled on the opening nine of the tournament, accumulating 55 strokes, but showed ample resolve — putting up 45 strokes on the back nine and then shooting an 85 the next day. She placed seventh overall.
"Basically Jessica refused to quit or give in or play below her ability," Nichols said.
In contrast, Lexi Huebert was pretty steady throughout the tournament. She shot a 96 the first day and a 97 the second day and placed 10th.
"That is how Lexi has played all year. She has been so consistent and steady. She has been a huge part of our team. Her scoring in the 90s is a big part of why we are going to state and have an opportunity to compete with other teams at the level we are. Lexi has worked very hard on her game the past four years and it has truly paid off for her and our team," Nichols said.
Also, Darian Breshears placed 15th and accumulated 96 strokes the first day and 100 strokes the second day and Haley Schulte finished 24th with scores of 112 and 99.
Nichols says the Wildcats have a shot to finish in the top four in state if they play up to their potential at the state tournament.
Regardless, all of Wilsonville's varsity players, who have been integral cogs to the program, will conclude their high school girls golf careers this week.
"I will truly, truly miss them, not just for their golf ability but for the people they are. They leave a great legacy for girls golf at Wilsonville High School," Nichols said.