REDMOND — For the fourth time in the last five years, a team from the Cowapa League grabbed the top spot in the Class 4A boys golf state tournament.
And it was a different team, as Valley Catholic became the third Cowapa school to win a state title since 2014.
Seaside won state championships in 2014 and ‘15, and Scappoose won last year’s title.
The Valiants improved Monday’s first round score by four strokes Tuesday, to finish with a 630 team score, as final round action wrapped up at the Eagle Crest Ridge Course in Redmond.
Valley Catholic shot a 317 Monday, followed by a 313 score Tuesday to finish 20 strokes ahead of second-place Scappoose (650).
Klamath Union (659) was third, and Mazama (668) jumped Seaside in the team standings to finish fourth, while the Gulls took fifth with a 671, two strokes ahead of sixth-place La Grande.
Klamath Union senior Craig Ronne maintained his lead from Monday to finish as the tournament medalist with a 10-under-par 134.
Senior Jackson Kunde was Seaside’s top golfer, finishing in a tie for 14th with a 164.
Teammate Connor Merrell dropped three strokes off his Monday round (85 to 82) for a 167, 18th overall.
Seaside’s other two counting scores came from Samson Sibony (169, tied for 20th overall) and Curtis Kunde (171, 23rd). Mason Shamion rounded out the Gulls’ day with a 197.
Jackson Kunde is Seaside’s lone senior, as Merrell, Sibony and Shamion are all juniors, and Curtis Kunde is a freshman — one of two freshmen to finish in the top 23 of this year’s tournament.
“We made it into the final group on the final day of the tournament,” said Seaside coach Jim Poetsch. “That is what every golfer at every level strives for. It would have been nice to bring home a trophy, but to be in contention with five guys that have never played in a state tournament is still quite a feat.
“The experience of playing in a state tournament is a huge advantage as the teams that beat us all had most of their players back from last year’s tournament, where they finished first, second, third and sixth,” he said. “So it was a good finish to a great season, and next year we will have some experience. While we lose Jackson, who finished just two strokes out of the top 10, we now have three of the top 10 returning players for next year in Connor, Samson and Curtis.”