While Samantha Stansbury is off to state next week, The Dalles girls golf team had its best two days of golf, scoring-wise, to finish second at the Intermountain Conference/Northwest Oregon Conference regional championship tournament ending Tuesday at Meadow Lakes Golf Course in Prineville.
When soaking in what transpired, TD head coach Amy Wilson was brimming with excitement.
The six varsity players cut more than 100 strokes, collectively, off their team scores from last season and were consistently placing fourth in their conference tournaments.
Wilson said they had a new attitude when it came to regionals and it equaled a solid finish against seven other programs.
“All of these ladies absolutely blew my mind this season,” Wilson said. “Their hard work and self-discipline were unlike anything I have seen. It wasn’t so much what I expected of them, but the goals they set for themselves that made them continuously set, then break, their own records. Each lady played a very important role on the team and they were more like a family helping each other and building each other up.”
Stansbury placed fifth in the individual standings with a personal-record 191 to earn the fourth individual state qualification and The Dalles girls golf team made up an eight-stroke deficit and scored second place with a two-day outcome of 815, besting Redmond (819) by four shots.
Ridgeview was on top of the eight-team field and took the third and final state berth after a combined 795.
Pendleton won the league crown and an automatic state berth, and Wilsonville placed fourth in the standings, but was the best of the NWOC at 830 for a state trip.
On the leaderboard, Redmond’s Elizabeth Roundtree claimed a regional medalist title with her 182, which was five shots better than Hood River Valley’s Victoria Ervin (187) and seven ahead of St. Helens’ Alexus Burgoyne (189) and Ridgeview’s Danika Lundgren (189).
Stansbury shaved down three strokes from her opening round (97) and hit for a 191 to net fifth place.
Ervin, Roundtree, Burgoyne and Stansbury all chalked up individual state slots.
“I still have to pinch myself when I think about Samantha, a sophomore, representing the Lady Riverhawks at the state championships,” Wilson said.
St. Helens’ Emme Paullus (194), TD’s Rainie Codding (197), Wilsonville’s Karra Kaiser (197) and Sabyn Thoune (197), along with Ridgeview’s Logan Dietz (200), rounded out the top-10.
Stansbury cut three shots from her first day total, as did Codding, who went from 100 to 97 for her 197.
Eliana Ortega put up a 103-116-219, and Lydia Evans erased nine strokes from the first round, going from 117 to 108 and a 225.
Bella Evans had a 100 through one day and was tied for ninth place, but fell ill before Tuesday’s round and could not play, so Jaeden Biehn filled in and tallied a 122.
The future does look promising for a Riverhawk program that last had a state qualifier in 2016, Iliana Telles.
“Even with the varsity team taking a lot of the spotlight, our three junior varsity players continued to work hard behind the scenes to meet the goals they had set for themselves,” Wilson said. “When it came time for them to apply their first-year skills in a nine-hole tournament early this year, they put up scores that rivaled some of the varsity players.”
When it came to having Ortega and Biehn by her side, Wilson knew she had extra coaches to help some of the young and experienced players.
“Although I am sad to lose two incredible seniors, they have paved the way for building a successful future for the ladies golf program,” Wilson said.
In May of 2017, at Eagle Crest Golf Course in Redmond, The Dalles had three players participate on the first day for an incomplete and then notched a final team score of 571 on the second day.
That’s a far cry from where this group is now.
Last week, they went for a 400 and a 415 on back-to-back days.
“The Lady Riverhawks made some bold statements this season, on and off the course,” Wilson said. “They are on the leaderboard and are only moving up from here. I will never tire of boasting my pride in each of these amazing ladies.”
The 5A girls tee off at 12:30 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday for state golf action at Quail Valley Golf Course in Banks.