by: PHIL HAWKINS - From left, Woodburns Alexus Charitar, Wendy Hernandez and Belen Amaya lead the Bulldogs varsity girls golf team this spring season. Hernandez had the teams best outing to start the season after shooting a 68 to tie for 16th at Tukwila on March 31.The Woodburn girls golf team is about as young as it can get without conscripting athletes from the middle school.

“The only returning player is a sophomore, Belen Amaya, and everybody else is new,” head coach Neil Wilhelm said.

The Bulldogs also feature freshmen Alexus Charitar, Megan Sanftleben, Nona Toran and Michelle Torres. In addition to Amaya, the team also has sophomore Khaya Mathis and junior Wendy Hernandez as the team’s “veterans,” though Wilhelm expects a lot of growth since most of the team is fairly new to the sport.

“Many of them are taking up the club for the first time. I like a blank slate, there’s no bad habits,” he said. “They’re out here working hard, and they’re already showing a ton of improvement.”

Wilhelm is excited for the crop of young players, both in terms of sheer numbers but also to see how they respond to the vigors of golf.

“It really is more physically demanding than people think,” he said. “Eighteen holes over four to five hours while carrying a bag, you’re walking five to six miles and you have to perform. It’s intimidating and challenging, but it’s great because it’s one of those sports where you learn a lot about yourself.”

Hernandez, Charitar and Amaya make up three of the five varsity slots, and Wilhelm will look to his younger players to fill in the final two positions as the team heads into Monday’s match at Trysting Tree Golf Course in Corvallis.

Hernandez took the Bulldogs’ top marks in the team’s opening match in Albany on March 31, shooting a team-best 68 over nine holes to place tied for 16th.

Her best holes came on the ninth where she shot a par 6, and she bogeyed holes 5 and 8 as well.

“Wendy has been with us for about a month,” Wilhelm said. “She’s swung a club before, but as a junior she’s never really played competitively or really spent a lot of time at it, so she shows a lot of promise.”

Charitar, who lives near Tukwila, leads the team’s freshman class. She shot a par 3 on the fifth hole in Albany en route to a 74, good enough to finish tied for 20th.

“I’m very excited about the fact that we’ve got four freshman,” Wilhelm said. “That bodes well for our future.

“I look for a lot of growth this year, and our goals will be set quite a bit higher for next year,” he said.


Results from Mid-Willamette Conference girls golf

March 31 at Albany Golf Center


1st – Corvallis, 208

2nd – W. Albany, 220

3rd – Lebanon, 244

4th – Dallas, 298

5th – S. Albany, 301

6th – Silverton, 311

* Crescent Valley and Woodburn did not field a 4-person team.


1. Halle Creswick, CV – 42

2. Kate Hibbs, W.A. – 45

3. Alexandria Martinson, CV – 46

T4. Hannah Bush, W.A. – 48

T4. Adrienne Johnson, CRV – 48

T6. Kailee Curtis, DS — 54

T16. Wendy Hernandez, WB – 68

T20. Alexus Charitar, WB – 74

28. Belen Amaya, WB – 86

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