Walla Walla trio qualify for WJGA state tourney

Nicholas Atwood, Jessica Huntsman and Emily Baumgart are in next week's state tournament.

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CLE ELUM, Wash. - Three Walla Walla golfers qualified for the Washington Junior Golf Association State Championships and two others are alternates as the WJGA's District 4 Tournament concluded at Suncadia Resort near here on Tuesday.

The state tournament will be played next week in Walla Walla, with play commencing Wednesday at the Walla Walla Country Club, Wine Valley Golf Course and Veterans Memorial Golf Course. The tournament wraps up Friday at the country club.

Earning tickets to the state tournament from Walla Walla are Nicholas Atwood in the boys 14-15 age division, Jessica Huntsman in the girls 14-15 group and Emily Baumgart in the girls 12-13 division. Ryan Baumgart in the first alternate in the boys 16-17 age division and Scott Kimball is the second alternate in the boys 12-13 group.

In all, 32 players from District 4 qualified for state, with allocations for each age group for boys and girls based on the district's percentage of statewide WJGA membership. There will be a total of 252 golfers representing six districts entered in the state tourney.

Atwood shot rounds of 88 and 85 on the par-72 Suncadia course for a 173 total, which was good for the sixth of nine state berths in the boys 14-15 division. Drew McCullough of Richland won the division with a 74-82-156.

Huntsman earned her girls 14-15 age division state berth with an opening-round 89 on Monday followed by a 90 on Tuesday. Her 179 total was good for a share of second place in a division that qualified three players for state. Bree Wanderscheid of Goldendale shot 77-85-162 to win the division and Neydeen Martinez of Pasco carded 93-80-179 to tie Huntsman for second place.

And in the girls 12-13 division, Baumgart opened with a division-leading 85 on Monday but followed up with a score of 100 on Tuesday for a 185 count. She finished in second place, four shots behind Bailey Wangler of Selah, who turned in an 86-95-181 score, and 11 shots in front of Jalayne Martinez of Pasco, who shot 95-101-196 and is the first alternate.

Ryan Baumgart, who has been one of the top District 4 scorers over the course of four sub-district tournaments, was never able to get untracked on the Suncadia course. He shot a 10-over-par 82 to open the tournament on Monday and improved to 79 on the second day for a 162 total that left him one shot shy of a direct entry into the state tournament.

Jeffrey Marcum of West Richland won the division with rounds of 77 and 75 for a 152 total, two shots in front of Richland's Tanner Martin, who shot 79-75-154. First-round leader Samson Martinez of Pasco went from a first-round 75 to a second-round 81 and finished in a three-way tie for third place with Rylee Iacolucci of South Cle Elum and Nick Atkin of Kennewick, all three at 156 for the tournament.

Daniel Cruzen of Kennewick totaled 158 and Cole Lorenzo of Richland finished at 160 to earn the other state berths.

Walla Walla's Kimball turned in rounds of 95 and 99 for a 194 total for seventh place in a 12-13 boys division that qualified its top four players for state. Holden Backes of Yakima won the division with scores of 83 and 84 for a 167 count, which was 10 full shots in front of second-lace Ryan Ray of Richland.

Travis Kay of Ellensburg and Dylan Apodaca of Selah claimed the other two state berths and Jaime Angel Campos of Selah, who finished at 187, is the first alternate. Jonathan Imperial of Wapato also finished ahead of Kimball with a 189 total score but has opted to forego his eligibility as a state alternate.

Kristin Strankman of Richland fired 77-74-161 to take top honors in the girls 16-17 age division, with Taylor Kain-Godoy of Richland and Jordan Takasugi of Wenatchee earning the divison's other two direct state tickets.

Yakima's Dylan Bissell earned the first of three state slots in the boys 8-11 division with nine-hole rounds of 40 and 45 for an overall score of 85. And in the girls 8-11 group, Pasco's Maylie Martinez shot 55-57-112 and is the lone state qualifier from her division.

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