Clackamas boys golfers finish second in final Mt. Hood Conference tournament of 2022
It was just another day in Mt. Hood Conference boys golf, so the MHC's best golfers did what they always do — they got after it big-time.
Competing at Mt. View Golf Club in Boring in the final MHC tournament of the regular season, Central Catholic's boys continued their stellar play to seal up the regular-season crown, while Clackamas and Barlow sparred for second place, and Nelson battled throughout the event.
In the end, the Rams shot 309 to win for the sixth straight week in MHC play, while the Cavaliers edged the Bruins for second place (the two teams tied at 322, but Clackamas took second based on having the better score from its fifth player) and Nelson took fifth in the six-team field.
The complete team scoring included: Central Catholic 309, Clackamas 322, Barlow 322, David Douglas 343, Nelson 367, Sandy 406.
"I am proud of (the team)," said Clackamas freshman Luke Clarizio, who tied Central Catholic senior Luke Laber for medalist honors with a 3-over-par 74, Clarizio's best score of the season. "They fought through a tough, wet course and battled all the way to the end. Some (of them said) they had a rough day, but I am proud of them and their mindset, knowing how far down we are in points but still wanting to play their best."
"It's been tough with the wet weather to remain positive for many of us, but I am glad to have had the time with these fine young men," said Clackamas' first-year coach Kent Williams.
Next up, the MHC's boys will battle in district tournament play at Glendoveer Golf Course in Portland on Monday and Tuesday, May 2-3. The boys will play on Glendoveer's East course with play starting at 1 p.m. Monday and 9 a.m. Tuesday.
The tournament champion and the top two individual finishers not from the winning team will automatically qualify for the Class 6A state tournament. The second-, third- and fourth-place teams will qualify for the regional tournament (along with the 2-3-4 teams from the Three Rivers League).
Both Clarizio and senior Alex Lasko took their spots near the top of the standings, with Lasko shooting 75 to finish third overall in the field of 30. Clarizio made six pars on the front side and shot 39, opened the back nine with two consecutive birdies, then added six more pars and shot 37. Lasko, meanwhile, made one birdie and six pars for a front-nine 37, then added another birdie and five pars for a 38 on the back nine.
"(I) felt pretty good going into my round, knowing I had the ability to score low and just had to stay focused," Clarizio said. "I feel that I did a pretty good job at keeping my head in it and going shot by shot, not hole by hole, which was my main goal for the day."
In addition to their efforts, Clackamas senior Carson Long shot 85, freshman Kyle Tzeo finished with an 88 and senior Carson Doak added an 89, with Doak's score securing second place (Barlow's fifth finisher shot 98).
For Williams, the chance to lead his team through a "normal" season — after losing 2020 to COVID-19 restrictions and seeing 2021 shortened to just six weeks — meant everything.
"When I asked our guys at our first meeting (what) they wanted this year, one of our players said, 'To be known.' I took that to heart," Williams said. "Because of that sentiment, and the tough years all of these kids have gone through, my main goal was to create a family feel on our team around the great game of golf. I think we've been able to do just that."
For Nelson, freshman Ben Long was the Hawks' best, shooting 88 to tie for 14th in the overall standings. His round was highlighted by a birdie on Mt. View's 463-yard par-5 second hole and adding three more pars on the front nine.
"I am not satisfied with how I played that match. I missed lots of easy opportunities … (but) our team has progressively getting better and better," Long said. "I am proud of my team, because after every match, we knew that could be better and focused on improving instead of putting ourselves down."
The rest of the Hawks' varsity results included: junior Jakob Stepaniak, 89; freshman Nolan Xiong, 91; freshman Oskar Stepaniak, 99; and junior Kole Magden, 106.
"I felt like I left quite a few shots out there today, however, I made some really clutch putts and the highlight of the day was chipping in on 13 to save par," added Jakob Stepaniak. "Overall, I think our team performance was one of our best of the season and I'm really excited going into district."
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