The defending state champions from the 5A level, playing on their home course in the 4A state tournament, was a tough combination to beat this week, as the Seaside Gulls discovered Monday and Tuesday.

The Gulls gave it their best shot, but the Marist Spartans — who dropped down from Class 5A to the 4A level following the 2017-18 school year — won their second straight state title with a solid two-round effort in the 4A boys golf state championship at Emerald Valley Golf Club in Creswell.

Marist held an 18-stroke lead over second-place Seaside after Monday’s first round, and the mighty Spartans pushed their final margin to 32 strokes following Tuesday’s final round.

Marist carded a 314 team score to finish with a two-round total 627, while the Gulls finished at 659, following their 331 on Day 1 and 328 Tuesday.

Defending 4A state champion Valley Catholic placed a distant third with a 707 team score.

Seaside’s second-place finish under coach Jim Poetsch was its best since winning back-to-back state titles in 2014 and 2015. The Gulls also won state championships in 1971 and 1975 under coach Ed Rippet.

Meanwhile, it was the third tournament this season (all at Emerald Valley) that Seaside and Marist met on the course, and the third time the Gulls finished second behind the Spartans.

In April, Marist won a four-team tournament with a 312 to Seaside’s 332, with 5A Churchill and 6A Sheldon finishing third and fourth, respectively.

Then in a 13-team state preview tournament May 1, the Spartans scored another 20-stroke win over the Gulls (328-348).

The third time was not the charm for Seaside in Tuesday’s second round.

Marist followed five birdies in Monday’s round with 10 on Tuesday, six birdies on the front nine.

Three of Seaside’s five golfers improved their scores from Monday, but not enough to cut into the Marist lead.

And just to give the state a sneak preview of what they’ll be seeing for the next two or three years, Marist’s top four golfers include two juniors and two sophomores, while the Gulls have a freshman and a sophomore as their top two players. Seaside loses seniors Connor Merrell and Samson Sibony to graduation.

Marist sophomore Nick Watts held on to his first-round lead and finished as the tournament medalist with a one-over par 145 (74-71).

Spartan teammate Arnav Reddy carded a 153 for his two-day total, one stroke ahead of Stayton’s Evan Massena (154), while Woodburn sophomore Cole Beyer finished fourth at 155.

Mazama junior Nate Beck and Seaside freshman Carson Kawasoe tied for sixth at 156.

Kawasoe was two strokes off his pace from Monday’s 77, with a 79 in the second round.

The next three Seaside golfers all improved their scores from Day 1 to Day 2.

Sophomore Curtis Kunde finished 10th overall with a 165 (83-82), followed by Merrell (84-83—167) and Sibony (87-84—171).

Chris Bodner served as Seaside’s fifth golfer, and finished with a 94-105—199.

Gary Henley is a sports reporter for The Astorian. Contact him at 503-861-8493 or

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