Coming off a banner year, the Crimson Tide welcome four new faces to the mix

The 2013 season was nothing short of a banner one for the Glencoe boys golf team.

The Crimson Tide won almost every honor in sight, especially in Pacific Conference play. Glencoe won every single league tournament as well as the district tournament championship. Connor Tripp and Jared Duvall went 1-2 at that district finale, with Nick Karich tying for third.

A week later, at the Class 6A state tournament in Corvallis, Duvall posted a 10th-place finish — becoming just the second Tide golfer to land in the top 10 at state — to lead his team to a historic finish. Glencoe ended up in a tie for fifth in the team standings, just four strokes out of a trophy placement. The result was the program’s best at the state level, capping what was clearly an outstanding season.

This year may also wind up an outstanding one, though the trajectory will certainly be different, given that the Tide graduated four varsity players — out of five — off of last year’s team. In addition to Tripp and Karich, Ethan Zickel and Hayden Vetter also moved on last spring, leaving Duvall as the lone holdover.

That means his dad, Tide coach Tim Duvall, is working with an almost entirely new varsity unit.

“Losing those four guys, those four seniors, and only returning Jared, I knew everybody knew coming in it was going to be a different deal for us this year,” Tim Duvall said. “We’re not young, but we’re inexperienced.”

The varsity rookies this year are seniors Cameron Meyers and Isak Chun. Juniors Taylor LaBonte and Logan West also make the top rung this spring.

“They were all in the program last year, but those guys were all JV golfers and they’re very inexperienced,” Duvall said. “Isak is the only other player besides Jared who has played in any varsity golf tournaments.”

Duvall noted that the inexperience showed during Glencoe’s season-opening tournament on Monday, the Tigard/Tualatin Invitational at Tualatin Country Club. The Tide shot a 393 to finish in 13th place out of 15 teams, though they were in shouting distance of the middle of the pack.

Jared Duvall led the team with a 75 to finish in third place, two strokes behind Lake Oswego’s Cole Madey and Alex Wrenn, who posted matching 73s.

No other Tide golfer shot under 90 on Monday, but they are capable of cutting down their scores — and quite a bit in some cases. Chun and LaBonte, Tim Duvall said, both shot 86 or better at a JV tournament at the end of last season.

“We’ve got a ways to go yet. I mean, they need to work on their game,” Duvall noted. “They’re getting that opportunity now, but we do have the potential, I think, that we can be right there when the guys start playing golf every day, which now they’re starting to do that.”

So with some seasoning over the coming weeks, Duvall believes the Crimson Tide just might have another state-qualifying run in them.

“I think if we can keep improving, I think we’re going to be battling right in there for that second-place spot this year,” Duvall said. “I think we have that capability.”