PASCO — DeSales’ defending state champion boys team and state runner-up girls squad launched their 2013 high school golf campaigns here Thursday at Golf Land on a successful note.
The Irish boys, led by junior Jarod Konen’s even-par 27 on the executive course, totaled 157 for their top five scores and left three of their District 9 rivals in the dust in the nine-hole jamboree competition.
St. John-Endicott took home second place with a score of 185, edging Liberty Christian’s 186 tally by a single swing. Tri-Cities Prep only entered four boys.
Konen finished two shots in front of teammate Ryan Baumgart, the defending Class 2B boys state champion, who shot a two-over 29. Dan Schaefer came next for the Irish with a 33 and Scott Kimball and Lucas Lyons matched 34s for DeSales’ other two counting scores.
Andrew Hayunga at 40, Rob Kelly 43, Cole Miedema 46, Adam Tompkins 47 and Nick Brown 51 were all non-counters.
Waitsburg-Prescott’s Dakota Baker, who practices and travels with the Irish since his school doesn’t offer golf, tied Baumgart for second place with a 29. Liberty Christian’s Jared Hoey also scored 29 to lead the Patriots, John Quinton led SJ-E with a 34 and Daniel Kim was Tri-Cities Prep’s top scorer with a 40.
The DeSales girls turned in a score of 126 for their top four scores. Tri-Cities Prep finished second with a score of 132 and St. John-Endicott carded 138. Liberty Christian did not enter a girls team.
Freshman Emily Baumgart, last year’s state runner-up individually, led the Irish girls with a seven-over-par 34. But she had to settle for second place individually behind St. John-Endicott’s Michal Schuster, the defending state champion, who took first place with a six-over 33.
Irish senior Ashton Montgomery shot 38 and a pair of freshmen, Elizabeth Ruthven and Jane Conley, rounded out DeSales’ scores with a 54 and 62, respectively.
Rachel Armijo’s 39 paced Tri-Cities Prep.
“We’re looking pretty decent,” Irish coach Lon Olson said of his boys and girls teams. “On top of that, the league looks to be down this year, although we have yet to see Pomeroy and Asotin.”
Olson has every reason to believe his teams will be strong state contenders again this spring.
In addition to Ryan Baumgart, who has won the last two boys Class 2B state crowns, Konen tied for 13th at last year’s state tournament and senior Scott Bryce Scott, who didn’t attend Thursday’s jamboree, finished eighth. And Kimball was a state qualifier in 2012 as an eighth grader.
“We qualified four boys for last year’s state tournament, and three of them made the cut,” Olson said of his state-championship team. “And all four are back, plus some others.”
Emily Baumgart narrowly missed winning last year’s girls state title as an eighth grader and Montgomery tied for 13th place as a junior.
“Our girls lost to St. John by a half a point last year,” Olson said. “We have two state qualifiers back, including Emily (Baumgart), who just might win the next four state championships. We have a couple of other freshmen who are pretty green but are working hard at their games.”
W-P’s Baker also qualified for last year’s boys state tourney and finished 17th overall.
The Irish will be back in action Tuesday on their home turf when they host Tri-Cities Prep, Liberty Christian, St. John-Endicott and Mac-Hi in a nine-hole match at Veterans Memorial Golf Course. Play commences at 2 p.m.