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Girls golf: Wilsonville wins NWOC district tournament, first league title since 2004

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - The Wilsonville girls golf team won the last five league tournaments of the season, including the two-day district championships, to capture its first conference title in a decade. From left, junior Audrey Chames, freshman Kaitlyn Howe, senior Megan Stites, senior Annika Oetken and junior Kara Gilbert.The decade-long drought is over.

The Wilsonville girls golf team had become accustomed to runner-up finishes in the Northwest Oregon Conference in recent years, and it appeared headed for another second-place showing after starting the season behind Liberty in three-straight tournaments.

But the Wildcats broke the cycle in remarkable fashion, winning the next four regular-season matches and securing top honors at the two-day district tournament May 12-13 at The Reserve in Aloha to capture their first league title since 2004.

“I don’t even know how to express enough how proud I am of the girls and how happy I am for them,” coach Mike Nichols said. “Liberty has been such a good program, and I have so much respect for their team and coach Stuart Kivett. It is a significant accomplishment to finish ahead of them and win the league title.”

Wilsonville finished with a 36-hole total of 425 points in the modified Stableford scoring system — including a season-best round of 214 on the opening day — to complete its season-long climb past the Falcons (392).

The Wildcats earned their fourth conference title in program history and their first since joining the NWOC, and they will compete as a team at the Class 5A state championships May 19-20 at Emerald Valley Golf Course in Creswell.

“We are all pleased and very happy to finally win a league title — we know about how far we have come,” said Nichols, whose assistant, Cindy Anderson, was the head coach of Wilsonville’s last conference championship team. “But we are already looking forward to the state tournament and wanting to play well enough to finish in the top four and bring another state trophy home. That will be tough, as there are a lot of good teams in the state this year, but I truly think we could make a run.”

The team’s run to a league title was powered by Kaitlyn Howe and Audrey Chames and fortified by improved performances from Kara Gilbert, Megan Stites and Annika Oetken.

Howe posted 128 points over two days to finish three behind Liberty medalist Stephanie Miller (131), asserting her position as the league’s best freshman and one of its most talented golfers regardless of grade.

Chames took third place with 126 points, joining Howe on the all-conference first team after a standout junior campaign. It was the second-consecutive first-team honor for Chames, who tied for second place at last year’s district tournament.

This season came with additional glory for Chames as well as Gilbert, Stites and Oetken, who were all members of the program in 2012 when Wilsonville finished one stroke shy of a league title on the second day of the district tournament.

“It was very disappointing,” Nichols said.

Gilbert, Stites and Oetken made sure the team wouldn’t have to go through that experience again.

Gilbert improved by six points on the second day to end up with a two-day total of 90, a microcosm of the progress she made throughout the season.

Stites, who helped the Wildcats defeat the Falcons in the regular-season finale, carded 44 points on the first day of district competition en route to tallying 78 points.

Oetken rounded out Wilsonville’s lineup with 75 points.

Gilbert and Stites received second-team all-league recognition. Oetken missed making the top 10 by four strokes over the entire season.

***

AT A GLANCE

NWOC girls golf district championships

May 12-13 at The Reserve (Aloha)

Team scores: 1. Wilsonville, 214-211 (425); 2. Liberty, 191-201 (392); 3. Sandy, 169-167 (366); 4. Sherwood, 176-143 (319).

Individual leaders (top five): 1. Stephanie Miller, Liberty, 66-65 (131); 2. Kaitlyn Howe, Wilsonville, 65-53 (128); 3. Audrey Chames, Wilsonville, 63-63 (126); 4. McKenzie Oster, Liberty, 55-56 (111); 5. Brooklyn Dobson, Sandy, 45-61 (106).

Wilsonville: Kaitlyn Howe, 65-63 (128); Audrey Chames, 63-63 (126); Kara Gilbert, 42-48 (90); Megan Stites, 44-34 (78); Annika Oetken, 38-37 (75).

WILSONVILLE GIRLS GOLF 2014

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)

April 15 at Chehalem Glenn: 193 (1st of 5)

April 22 at Quail Valley: 188 (1st of 5)

April 29 at Charbonneau: 211 (1st of 5)

May 6 at Mountain View: 186 (1st of 5)

May 12-13 at The Reserve: 425 (1st of 5)

May 19-20 at Emerald Valley: Class 5A championships


By Jeff Goodman
Sports editor
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