It has the potential to be a very strong year for the West Linn boys and girls golf teams. But no one's ready to come out and say how strong yet.

'I'm cautiously optimistic. You really can't tell much until mid-April but we could potentially do very well in league,' said Bob Turnquist, the head of golf operations for West Linn and the head girls' coach.

The West Linn girls will be led by two very talented freshmen, Sharon Shin and Morgan Thompson.

Each have plenty of experience competing in junior tournaments and Shin was the medalist in the team's early-season invitational at Oregon Golf Club.

'Both of those girls are tournament savvy and know how to get around a golf course,' Turnquist said.

The Lions don't have a senior on their team, which bodes extremely well for the future. But there could also be some awards to be won this spring as well.

Beyond Shin and Thompson, Turnquist expects four girls to compete for the final three varsity positions from tournament to tournament.

Juniors Josie Sells and Brianna Ruiz are co-captains and shoot comparable scores with sophomores Katie Longtain and Elie Enderle.

Turnquist also believes there are a few other players who could challenge for a varsity spot as the season progresses, making for some healthy competition.

'It's a nice problem to have. I think our line-up will be different nearly every week,' Tunquist said.

In the teams' first league tournament, held at Stone Creek on Monday, West Linn won by nine strokes as Thompson tied for medalist honors, firing a nine-hole score of 37. Shin shot a 38.

Lake Oswego, with defending state champion Amy Beth Simanton and Lakeridge, are expected to contend with the Lions for the league title and for the two team berths in the state tournament.

'Right now it's impossible to say who the best team in the league is. We shot the best score on Monday but it's just so early. It will be interesting to see what happens when everyone is at full strength,' Turnquist said.

As solid as Thompson and Shin are, the key to team victories for the Lions will likely lie in its consistency from top to bottom.

'The three, four and five spots are crucial to success,' Turnquist said.

Meanwhile, the West Linn boys team finished in fourth place in its first league tournament and will look to catch frontrunners Lake Oswego and Lakeridge as the season progresses.

The team has four seniors, compared to just one on last year's squad and, like the girls' team, the Lions will go as far as their depth takes them.

In the West Linn Invitational, the team's lowest scorer shot an 81 while its highest shot an 89, proving that there is not a significant gap between its top five golfers.

Paredes feels that three of his players, Jackson Henniger, Matt Percin and Josh Peterson, can all score in the high 70s on good days while Jordan Hongo and Tyler Barker should be close as well.

'They all play on pretty much the same level and now we just need to get their numbers down just a little,' Paredes said.

In early practices the team has pushed each other as individuals try to crack the team's top-five.

'We had some guys come out in try-outs that wanted it badly. It's a good group of kids,' Paredes said.

Paredes believes that, with a little improvement, the Lions can compete with Lakeridge and Lake Oswego and could end up being in the hunt for a berth at state.

'Lake Oswego has a lot of talent but hopefully we can get up to them. We'd love to be a part of state,' Paredes said.

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