Junior's birdie highlights Wildcats' outing at Stone Creek Golf Course

by: JEFF GOODMAN / PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP - Kara Gilbert swings from the first tee April 8 at Stone Creek Golf Course in Oregon City, where she helped the Wilsonville girls golf team take second place in an NWOC tournament.OREGON CITY — Before the start of the tournament, Liberty coach Stuart Kivett gathered all of the league’s varsity girls, alerted them that the 14th hole at Stone Creek Golf Course has two greens and told them which one to aim for.

Kara Gilbert must have been listening closely.

The junior needed just two strokes to finish the par-3 hole, earning Wilsonville’s only birdie of the afternoon April 8 as she solidified her comeback from the ankle injury that kept her out of the season opener.

“It looks like Kara’s ankle is getting stronger and she will be able to practice more,” Wildcats coach Mike Nichols said. “I expect her scores will be improving significantly very soon.”

Gilbert finished with 33 points in the modified Stableford scoring system as Wilsonville tallied 173 points to take second place behind Liberty (196). Sandy and Sherwood tied for third place with 145 points each.

Gilbert’s recovery and potential for improvement have Nichols hoping that the Wildcats can catch the defending league champion Falcons in the Northwest Oregon Conference standings. Liberty currently holds a four-point lead over Nichols’ team for first place.

Standout freshman Kaitlyn Howe and all-league junior Audrey Chames carried Wilsonville with top-four performances. Howe carded 55 points to place third for the second tournament in a row, while Chames took fourth with 54 points.

Both girls made modest improvements on their scores from the April 1 tournament at Broadmoor Golf Course in Portland, where the Wildcats logged a season-low 158.

“Great weather and a great course resulted in a great day, although we would have liked to finish first,” Nichols said of his team’s outing in Oregon City.

Tournament medalist Stephanie Miller (61) and runner-up McKenzie Oster (56) powered the Falcons.

Wilsonville senior Megan Stites struggled on a few holes but came through with 31 points. Annika Oetken rounded out the Wildcats’ lineup with a 25.

Gilbert, a second-team all-NWOC honoree last season, ended up with the team’s third-best score at Stone Creek Golf Course. She complemented her birdie on the 14th hole with an even-par effort on the 16th hole.

Gilbert engineered an eight-point spike on her score from the April 1 tournament, where she played through ankle pain to finish her round. Nichols said he gave her the option of stopping less than halfway through the match in Portland but that Gilbert insisted on completing the course.

Gilbert was not in the lineup March 17 at Sah-Hah-Lee Golf Course in Clackamas.

Last year, she posted 94 points over two days at the district tournament to help Wilsonville capture a state bid before snagging a top-40 finish at the OSAA championships.

Gilbert and the Wildcats are scheduled to continue their season at 1 p.m. April 15 at Chehalem Glenn Golf Course in Newberg. They will also compete April 22 at Quail Valley Golf Course in Banks.



April 8 at Stone Creek Golf Course (Oregon City)

Team scores: 1. Liberty, 196; 2. Wilsonville, 173; 3. Sherwood, 145; 3. Sandy, 145; 5. St. Helens, 25.

Individual scores (top five): 1. Stephanie Miller (Liberty), 61; 2. McKnzie Oster (Liberty), 56; 3. Kaitlyn Howe (Wilsonville), 55; 4. Audrey Chames (Wilsonville), 54; 5. Brooklyn Dobson (Sandy), 48.

Wilsonville scores: Kaitlyn Howe 55, Audrey Chames 54, Kara Gilbert 33, Megan Stites 31, Annika Oetken 25.



March 17 at Sah-Hah-Lee: 197 (2nd of 6)

April 1 at Broadmoor: 158 (2nd of 5)

April 8 at Stone Creek: 173 (2nd of 5)

By Jeff Goodman
Sports editor
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