RICHLAND - Wa-Hi's boys golf team opened the Big Nine pod match season with a third-place finish at Horn Rapids here Monday.
Dean Atkinson shot an 84 on the par-72 course to tie for sixth and lead the Blue Devil contingent.
Teammate Nic Atwood was two shots back at 86th for ninth, and Cameron Mountain, Gunnar Leighty and Dakota Reiswig all carded 95s to tie for 19th.
Wa-Hi's Konor Clark rounded out the Blue Devil squad with a 101.
On the team side, Richland won the pod match with a 309, followed by Moses Lake at 338, Wa-Hi at 360, Wenatchee at 361, Davis at 405, Eisenhower at 406 and Chiawana at 440.
"Overall, I think the league is probably down, other than Richland," Wa-Hi coach Jim Smith said. "Richland, without question, is the favorite. They're so good, I don't think anybody can catch them. Everybody else is just playing for spots to state (as individuals)."
The top nine finishers at district qualify for the state tournament.
"We hope to have a couple-three of our kids close to the top nine so when district comes they have a pretty good shot to qualify for state," Smith said. "Dean and Nic are capable of playing much better. It's still early, and the weather hasn't cooperated. I expect them to pick up their games a little bit, but they're the two with the best chance to be around the top nine coming into district."
Atkinson was the lone Blue Devil qualifying for state last season, but missed the cut as a sophomore.
This year, Wa-Hi is hosting the district tournament May 14 at the Walla Walla Country Club and Wine Valley Golf Club.
The Wa-Hi boys head to the Southridge Invitational at Canyon Lakes on March 28, and then host a Big Nine pod match with the same seven schools at Wine Valley on April 9.