Seth King, Matthew Zaback and Michael Gray have dominated the competition for most of the Mid-Willamette Conference boys golf season, finishing the season as the top three scorers.
Now the threesome will look to cap the season with a 5A state title.
In six conference matches, King finished with a scoring average of 71, while Zaback and Gray averaged a 74 as the Raiders cruised to the MWC’s automatic berth to the state tournament, which gets underway at 12:30 p.m. Monday at Trysting Tree Golf Club.
Fellow senior Conner Sandberg averaged an 80 to tie for seventh while junior Jake Graff played in four of the six matches and averaged an 86 for 12th best. Junior Trevor Thibert has also been in the rotation.
“I’ve been obviously super impressed with how the season has gone,” coach Kelly Gallagher said. “I think the most impressive thing to me is just the work ethic of this team. I’ve never had such a solid group where everyone is on the same page, everyone is working hard, everyone is pushing everyone to be even better.
"I’ve had Kevin Geniza and Alec Berry and those two guys were great, but it was hard to get a full team to feel that way. There’s six guys on this team competing for five spots and they all feel that way.”
Gallagher said its one thing to have that kind of work ethic but another to have it translate on the golf course.
“You’ve still got to execute and they’ve executed all year and been pretty consistent,” he said.
The Raiders have to be considered a favorite from their season results, which included an impress five-under 283 at Mallard Creek, a performance Gallagher described as “beyond incredible.”
“As you’re out coaching and hearing this guy’s under, this guy’s under, this guy’s under and you’re doing the math in your head and you’re going I don’t think a high school team has ever done this well, at least from CV,” he said.
“… And Mallard’s a tough course so to do that not on your home course was really nice.”
The Raiders will be on their home course for state, providing a little extra edge for the golfers.
“It really gives them the confidence of knowing where can I miss, where can’t I miss,” Gallagher said. “For us, they feel like it’s an advantage.”
CV, which had already wrapped up an automatic berth, carded a two-day 611 to win last week’s regional tournament, also at Trysting Tree.
Zaback led the way with a 71-74—145 to place second behind Thurston’s Ty Garner (73-68—141). King was third with a 77-72—149 and Gray fifth with a 78-74—152. Sandberg had an 84-86—170 for 14th place.
It was a solid performance for sure, but Gallagher expects his team to be a little more focused for state.
“I think it was tough competing when there was nothing on the line,” he said. “That takes a little bit off the edge. But overall I think the guys did pretty well, they were consistent 305, 306. I think we’re capable of doing better. Our scores earlier in the year certainly suggest that. It was a good opportunity to get tuned up and get ready for state.”
Corvallis and West Albany also advanced teams to the state tournament, and Gallagher expects both to be strong challengers.
Cole Rueck finished fourth individually with a 74-77—151 at last week’s regional and Zach Montauge had an 87-72—159 for seventh to help spark the Spartans to a 341-328—669. Rueck was fourth overall during the MWC season with a 76 average and Montauge with a 78 average.
Also competing for the Spartans will be seniors Simon Rodriguez and Mateo Rodriguez, and freshman Vance John.
West Albany took the second berth from the regional by finishing with a 343-331—674, seven shots better than MWC foe Silverton. Freshman Brock Nelson had an 85-75—160 and sophomore Andrew Liles an 83-81—164 to help lead the Bulldogs.
Also competing for West will be senior Jonan Willard and sophomores Grant Moen and Trenton Crow.
“It was important to me to have this group make it to the state tournament,” coach Matt Boase said. “With four of the guys being so young we have a really bright future, and there is no better teacher than experience. They learned a lot (last Tuesday) about pressure by playing well enough to make it to state, and now they get to learn a bunch more lessons playing against the best teams in the state.”
Crescent Valley will play with Ridgeview, Wilsonville and Churchill off the first tee beginning at 12:57 p.m.
Corvallis and West Albany will go off No. 10 at 12:57 p.m. and play with Crook County and Hood River Valley.
West Albany and South Albany will take part in the 5A girls state tournament, set for Monday and Tuesday at Quail Valley Golf Course in Banks.
The Bulldogs won the regular season title in the Mid-Willamette Conference and then won the district tournament to secure a spot. The RedHawks were second in the MWC.
West is led by Anna Schweitzer, who won the district tournament with back-to-back 83s at Trysting Tree Golf Club on April 29-30.
Also competing for West will be Hannah McClure, Lexi Chido, Jayden Cook and Mado White. All are seniors with the exception on Chido, a sophomore.
The RedHawks are led by senior Destinee Henthorne, who was second at the district tournament and had a career-best 80 to take the first-round lead.
Also in the lineup are junior Jessica Armfield, sophomore Emma Houdek, senior Averie Sayre and sophomore Emma Betterton.
Competing as individuals will be Corvallis senior Judy Shu, Lebanon senior Alexis Glaser and Crescent Valley juniors Katie Duncan and Menzie Still.
West will play with Crater and Pendleton and go off the first tee at 12:30 p.m. South will start off No. 10 at 12:39 p.m. and plays with Ridgeview and Wilsonville.