Last year, The Dalles girls golf team combined for a 521 to place sixth at the Riverhawk Invitational, but then cut 62 strokes off their scores by dropping to a 459 in opening-round play at the Class 5A Special District 2 Tournament in May.
One event into the season and they have already shattered that mark.
Rainie Codding carded a fourth-place 103, Samantha Stansbury added a 110 and the Lady Riverhawks put up a 458 for a third-place tie with La Grande in Tuesday’s Riverhawk Invitational at The Dalles Country Club.
“Proud doesn’t begin to describe how I feel about these amazing ladies,” TD head coach Amy Wilson said. “They have been grinding it out indoors because of the pesky snow for over two weeks and they put it all together on the course today.”
Supporting Codding and Stansbury were Bella Evans, who shot a 119, Eliana Ortega, who finished with a 126, and Lydia Evans, who teed off for a 128 to round out TD’s five participants.
Although practicing golf indoors for two weeks is challenging, coach Wilson said that her team worked just as hard on swing adjustments and muscle memory.
The tournament was only their second day on actual grass and she saw each of her athletes focus and apply all the adjustments they’d been working on.
“Golf is not a game of perfection, and in those imperfect times, their amazing attitudes didn’t waver,” Wilson added.
Pendleton’s Megan George turned in an 87 to claim medalist honors, besting Bend’s Bailee Carpenter by 10 strokes (97).
Mackenzie Titus, of Wilson, had a 102 for third place, and both Codding and Wilson’s Jalissa Kalabas wound up with 103s.
Pendleton teammates Kylee Harris and MaKenzie McLeod were tied for sixth, La Grande’s Tori Bowen was eighth (107) and Stansbury (110) placed ninth.
The trio of Morgan Tussey (La Grande), Danika Lundgren (Ridgeview) and McKenzie Richardson (Redmond) wound up tied for 10th place with their scores of 111.
Staked by the efforts of George, Harris and McLeod, Pendleton won the team title by 31 strokes over Wilson (444).
The Dalles (458), La Grande (458), Redmond (473), Bend (486) and Ridgeview (488) made up the rest of the standings.
Hood River Valley had an incomplete team with one varsity golfer, Victoria Erickson, who placed 15th out of 33 individuals after her final tally of 114.
Coach Wilson came away impressed by the scores of the other teams, especially since nearly all of them dealt with winter weather issues.
“The invitational was a good preview of what to expect from the rest of the league and the potential our Lady Riverhawks have,” the coach said. “The season has just started, and they are hungrier than ever for success.”
Right out of the gates, TD’s group is already setting the bar high, with top-10 finishers and a third-place team output, so it showed her that it is a good indication of how hard they are willing to work toward reaching the goals they’ve set.
Coach Wilson has strong numbers this year with nine golfers in tow, six who are tournament-ready and a seventh, Haley Jones, working diligently to compete.
“Only five are allowed to compete in a tournament, so this has created some healthy competition,” Wilson said. “The five who play are selected based on practice and tournament scores, participation and attitude. They all want to play, so they work that much harder.”
After spring break next week, The Dalles heads to Redmond for the Eagle Crest Invitational slated to begin at 10 a.m. on Friday, April 5.