1. What will Hanford do for an encore?
It is pretty unlikely that the Falcons girls will be winning a third consecutive state title, as they return just one golfer from last year’s state title team.
Lacy Skwarek should be in the hunt for an individual state title, however. She tied for 15th last year.
Beyond Skwarek, though, the Falcons feature a lot of youth. Gone are state stalwarts Kelsey Aiello and Taylor Kain-Godoy.On the boys side, the Falcons took third as a team and return Thomas Hannu (17th at state last year) and Eric Dahl (missed cut). Hanford’s boys could very easily be in the hunt for a state title this season.
2. Part I: And the leader in the clubhouse is?
Richland High’s Drew McCullough has been on fire in the early going this season, winning four of the five tournaments he has played in.
McCullough, who missed the cut at state last season, won the Pasco Invite, Kennewick Invitational and the Canyon Lakes Invitational. He tied for the win with teammate Evan Hattori in the first Mid-Columbia Conference pod, and he took fourth at the Lee Dolquist Invitational.
Not a bad start to the young season.
Some of the folks who could give him a run for tops in the Mid-Col are teammates Hattori and his brother Andrew Hattori, and Carl Underwood, Hanford’s Hannu and Dahl, Southridge’s Austin Brown and Garret Daunhauer, and Kamiakin’s Pierce McDonald and Bolton Dauenhauer.
3. Part II: And the leader in the clubhouse is?
Southridge senior Catherine Warner is off to a solid start, though not quite as good as her counterpart on the boys side.Warner has won three of the five events she’s played in so far this season, grabbing titles at the Highlander Invitational, the first Mid-Columbia Conference pod and the Lee Dolquist Invitational.
She was second at the Hanford Invite and tied for third at the Moses Lake Invitational. She finished eighth at state last year and is the highest returning finisher on the girls side.
She will be challenged this season by Skwarek (15th at state last year) and Kennewick’s Allison Kadinger (23rd), as well as Pasco’s Neydeen Martinez (12th) and Jalayne Martinez (35th), and Walla Walla’s Jessica Huntsman (32nd).
4. What about the small schools?
The DeSales boys won the Class 2B/1B state title last year, but don’t return anyone from that squad, so a repeat seems a bit unlikely. Liberty Christian was second and returns Isaiah Ojeda, who also took second and is committed to Lewis-Clark State College next fall.
On the girls side, DeSales’ Emily Baumgart was second as a sophomore last season and is the favorite to grab a title this year.
In Class 2A, Prosser’s Taylor Gant is the lone returning boy who made state last spring, while Othello’s Ivone Garza is the lone girl who made state.
No Class 1A locals advanced to state last year.
5. On to state
The state tournaments will again be played outside of the Tri-Cities, which can make things difficult for area golfers as they must adjust to generally worse weather on the west side.
The Class 4A tournaments will be at Camas Meadows (boys) and Club Green Meadows (girls), the Class 3As at Tri-Mountain in Ridgefield (boys) and Lewis River in Woodland (girls), the 2As at Chambers Bay (boys) and The Classic in Spanaway (girls), the 1As at Lake Spanaway and the Bs at Oakbrook in Lakewood.
The MCC has five entries for boys and girls in Class 4A, while the girls get eight entries and the boys seven in Class 3A.The CWAC has 13 entries for boys and 14 for girls, the SCAC has 13 for boys and four for girls, the Southeast 2B has nine for boys and girls.