WEST RICHLAND - Spokane's men's golf team reaffirmed its status as the NWAACC's preseason favorite here Sunday as the Sasquatch forged a 13-shot lead halfway through the Columbia Basin College Invitational at the Horn Rapids Golf Course.
The Sasquatch cracked the 300 barrier with a 299 team total in windy, sometimes rainy conditions.
Bellevue was a distant second at 312 going into today's second and final round of play in the spring opener for most of the NWAACC schools entered here. Walla Walla was right behind the Bulldogs at 313, followed by North Idaho 316, host CBC 326 and defending NWAACC champion Southwet Oregon at 343. A club squad from Central Washington University was in last place at 354.
"Spokane's the team to beat in the NWAACC this year," Walla Walla coach Mike Rostollan said. "They're pretty much the same team that lost in a championship playoff at last year's NWAACC's. They're all sophomores, tried and true."
One of those sophomores, Kyler Gable, was the first-day medalist for a 74 on the par-72 layout that was playing at about 6,600 yards. Another Sasquatch soph, Jason Molner, was tied for second place with Brandon Dalton of North Idaho, both players just a shot off the pace.
Jeff Neher and Daniel Morgan led the Warriors' effort with matching 77s that shared fourth place. Josiah Thompson was in 10th place for WWCC with a 79, followed by Mike Noreen with an 80, Cory Spencer at 81 and Max Levitch with an 89.
Rostollan said that one of his varsity players wasn't entered in the tournament and that another would become eligible in about a week, suggesting better things to come.
"Mike Noreen is generally one of the better players in the league and we will expect more from him," Rostollan said. "And Max (Levitch) is much better than he showed Sunday. That was a dreadful effort.
"But this was our first time out and we will look for something a little better today. Mostly we're still knocking the rust off. Hopefully we can get past Bellevue today and maybe catch Spokane."
Spokane also had the lead in women's play with a 246 team total. Southwest Oregon followed at 277, North Idaho shot 281, Bellevue 283 and Walla Walla 297.
Kayla Case of Bellevue was the first-day medalist with a 79.
For Walla Walla, Dona Dunovant led with an 84, followed by Jamie Robison at 103 and Jordan Simkins at 110.
Rostollan and his players were looking for better weather conditions during today's second round.
"The wind blew like the dickens," Rostollan said of Sunday's round. "And it rained a little bit, although not like it did in Walla Walla. It was just spurts here and there, plus a little chill factor.
"The greens were fast and true, and the hole locations were more than fair," Rostollan added. "You can't always say that over there."