Dave Lawrence has been coaching golf at St.
Helens since before there was a Northwest Oregon Conference.
With 17 years at the helm of the St. Helens program, it pretty much makes Lawrence the Dean of the NWOC.
Lawrence not only coaches golf, he built the driving range off Ross Road on property owned by Grace Baptist Church, City of St. Helens, and the St. Helens School District. He also maintains it. All four high school golf teams from St. Helens and Scappoose use the facility for practice.
The Lions have a cadre of returning players this year that could make St. Helens a contender to nab one of the two team slots to state from regionals. Not only do the Lions have some returning strength, they have three exchange students out to learn golf.
Tyler Tolleshaug, a senior, and Kalvin Budge, a junior head the list of returnees. The pair nabbed individual spots at regionals last season, and are expected to be in the mix again.
Karson Miller, another senior, was showing a lot of promise last year. He recorded his best score in three weeks, just before an injury sidelined him last season.
Caden Willaby, also a senior, worked himself into shape last season.
Those four made the core of the team, Lawrence said. He has the first three slots pretty much figured out, but is not yet sure who will step up to join the varsity group.
Players with potential include Gavin Knoke, a senior out for the first time. He's never played competitively before. Luke Salisbury, another senior, has a shot, as does Kolby Holm, a sophopmore. The team has four soccer players on it, and Jimmy Lopez, a senior, is getting his first shot at golf.
What the team calls the "Battle for Europe" centers on three players learning to play for the first time. All our exchange students and include: Maceo DaRe, Italy; Arne Ingenmann, Norway; and Leander Werner, Germany.
"It could be a promising season," Lawrence said. "Wilsonville won the league last year and sent a team to regionals. We have a shot at doing that this year. We could contend for a state berth if we get a respectable score." He noted most of the teams from the conference qualified for regionals last season.
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