Despite just one senior, the Lions are focused and ready to take on all comers

by: VERN UYETAKE - Sarah Archuleta figures to be one of the state's top golfers again this year.This year's girls golf team figures to be another in what has been a string of dominant squads the school has produced in recent years.

While the Lions feature just one senior on the 12-girl squad, the program's biggest turn-out in years, the team is experienced and should be among the state's elite once again.

West Linn is led by a pair of very strong returners in Sarah Archuleta and Kristin Elich. Both are intense competitors who are powerful off the tee.

“They can bomb the ball. With Kristin, she wants every shot to be perfect so we've told her to just hit it as hard as she can off the tee and then go find it and I think that's given her more confidence,” coach Bob Turnquist said.

Archuleta and Elich have also recently switched equipment with the hopes of improving their game further as the season progresses.

“I'll play them where I think they have the best chance to succeed throughout the year, switching off in the No. 1 position. I think they should both contend but there are a lot of good players this year,” Turnquist said.

Freshman Amanda Elich will also be a big factor on this year's team which should feature some healthy in-squad competition for varsity action.

Senior Kirby Havermann???? and Heidi Garber both return with varsity experience while Chloe Barnes and Katie Fillion will also compete to be in the team's top-five each week.

“I see it being four kids battling for those two spots which will be interesting for us,” Turnquist said.

The Lions have been gearing up for the season since last fall, bulking up in the weight room and getting as much course time as possible.

But the biggest focus so far this season has been on putting.

“That's always been a big thing for us. We had 14 three-putts in our first match and that's just too many,” Turnquist said.

The Lions appear to be the class of the league again this season with Canby and Lake Oswego giving chase.

West Linn won its first league tournament handily. Archuleta and Kristin Elich finished 1-2 with Archuleta's 77 winning medalist honors. Elich shot an 80 while Amanda Elich shot an 87.

Fillion fired a 94 and Barnes shot 96 to round out the scoring.

The Lions will play on a variety of courses throughout the year, gearing up for the state tournament at Quail Valley.

“My goal is never to win state but for us to just be ready for state. I felt anxious last year but I think we're more prepared now,” Turnquist said.

Next up for the Lions is a league tournament at Arrowhead.

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