North Marion girls make program debut at state golf event
The North Marion girls golf team had already made program history before they stepped on the course at Trysting Tree Golf Club on May 19. A week prior, the Huskies were celebrating the school's first district golf championship. Now, Vivian McCullough, Lana Shevchenko, Mallory Patzer and Baylie Brotherton were teeing off as the only North Marion girls to ever play in a state championship event.
Following the conclusion of the 2021 4A girls golf championship showcase, the four Huskies had set the bar — a top 10 finish by McCullough and a seventh-place finish as a team, just two strokes shy of placing in the top five. It was an exciting, if not sobering moment that the North Marion girls had achieved something that no other quartet had accomplished since the OSAA began offering girls golf in 1975.
"They really grasped that," head coach Terry McCullough said. "They realized when they finished and they're sitting in the room with all the scores up — when they looked around and they saw there were teams from Baker, La Grande — they all realize these teams are around the state. It's not just Woodburn, Seaside, Valley Catholic and teams they know.
"When they started looking at the state and they realized their scores were right in the mix with the majority of them. They realize they're in this too."
Led by Vivian McCullough's 10th-place score of 90, the Huskies put together a total team score of 420, beating out Klamath Union by 28 strokes for seventh place while barely placing behind sixth-place Marshfield (419) and fifth-place Newport (418).
When the final scores were tallied, Coach McCullough was pleased to see the girls going over the past five hours of play and think of the putts that just missed or the tee shots that didn't connect, thinking of any place on the previous 18 holes where they could have shaved off one or two strokes to finish higher in the standings.
"When they all saw that, they're like "What? No!" Terry McCullough recalled. Chuckling to himself, he just thought, "Welcome to competition golf."
The team stopped at Abby's Pizza in Albany on its way back from the event to recap the tournament with each other. Shevchenko finished tied for 25th with a score of 102, Patzer tied 35th at 109 and Brotherton placed 46th with a 119 score.
Having never been to a state championship event, the North Marion girls entered the contest with little pressure on their performance. Two years ago, Vivian McCullough and Patzer were freshmen on the varsity team. Laila Brooks — who helped win the district title, but was unable to compete at state — was on JV, and Shevchenko was playing just down the road for the Woodburn JV team. The four juniors formed the core of the Huskies' varsity team this year, but received what turned out to be an important addition halfway into the COVID-shortened season.
"It was two weeks into the league and all of a sudden a fifth girl shows up, Baylie, and she was my wildcard," Terry McCullough said. "She's actually a softball player, but she wanted to play golf this year and we were happy to have her."
Going into the district qualifier, Coach McCullough knew that North Marion would automatically qualify for state due to the lack of available teams in their district. But he and the athletic directors opted not to inform the girls heading into the event in order to simulate the competitive pressure of a typical district championship.
"We found out we were playing this season with house money," Terry McCullough said. "It was going to be between Gladstone and us. When the ADs said they were going to send two teams to state, it was going to be a shoe-in."
At the state showcase, the North Marion coach took the opposite approach. No pressure, just have fun. Take in what a championship event looks and feels like and use it to fuel the drive for the 2022 season.
"This is new territory going to the state tournament," he said to the team. "I don't care if you shoot 150 or 50, I just want you to enjoy your day, record your score correctly, sign your cards and finish with a smile on your face."
They did more than that.
Vivian McCullough and Shevchenko each tied their person record scores in tournament play and Brotherton was seven strokes under her average. Patzer, who had split time between tennis and golf this season, came within a few strokes of her personal best.
"I'm really glad that they had as low pressure and much fun," Terry McCullough said. "They've almost been spoiled by this experience, because now next year the pressure is on. It'll be self-pressure, but they'll put pressure on themselves."
Freshman Hilaria Trevino led Woodburn's three individual state qualifiers with a score of 91 to tie for 12th at Trysting Tree.
Teammate Neyda Segura shot a 111 to tie for 39th and Ana Sanchez placed 47th with a score of 120 at the championship showcase.
"(Trevino has) done great and the other two girls, I'm just really proud of them because they have been put in a tough spot also, competing against the best girls in the state and many of them are much older and more experienced," Woodburn head coach Neil Wilhelm said.
It was the fourth consecutive season in which the Woodburn girls had qualified its entire team for the state competition.
The streak began in 2017 when the Bulldogs placed seventh at the 5A championship, followed by a sixth-place finish in 2018. Woodburn placed fourth in 2019 when the Woodburn School District moved to the 4A classification.
This year's program did not have enough players to qualify as a team, but Trevino, Sanchez and Segura punched their tickets to state regardless, advancing as individuals to keep the streak alive heading into the 2022 season.
2021 4A Girls Golf State Championship
Tuesday, May 18 at Trysting Tree Golf Club
1. Marist 345
2. Valley Catholic 353
3. Baker 389
4. Seaside 394
5. Newport 418
6. Marshfield 419
7. North Marion 420
8. Klamath Union 448
1. Challin Kim, Valley Catholic 73
2. Sandhya Vaikuntam, Marist 74
3. Abby Beck, Mazama 75
4. Megan Birrell, Valley Catholic 78
T5. Tristyn McFadden, Seaside 82
T5. Esha Reddy, Marist 82
7. Madison Homes, Marist 86
8. Taylor Nudd, Baker 88
9. Sarah Ferns, Klamath Union 89
T10. Sydney Anderson, Gladstone 90
T10. Vivian McCullough, North Marion 90
T12. Hilaria Trevino, Woodburn 91
T12. Caitlin Lien, Baker 91
14. Natalie Gitchell, Tillamook 92
T15. Madison Mockridge, North Valley 93
T15. Keeli Satterfield, Valley Catholic 93
17. Avonly Wolf, Newport 95
18. Marissa Lane, La Grande 97
19. Caleigh Peterson, Seaside 98
20. Jasmine Gonzalez, Newport 99
T21. Paige Kirchner, Marshfield 100
T21. Kaia Eickenberry, Phoenix 100
T23. Kaleigh England, Marshfield 101
T23. Daisy O'Hearn, Newport 101
T25. Lana Shevchenko, North Marion 102
T25. Grace Stamflee, Baker 102
T27. Ruby Rector, Phoenix 103
T27. McKenna Henderson, Marist 103
T29. Lauren Rinker, La Grande 104
T29. Emma Arden Seaside 104
T31. Maren Weld, Sweet Home 105
T31. Nyssa Haynes, Marshfield 105
33. Angela Conklin, La Grande 106
34. Gretchen Morgan, Baker 108
T35. Mallory Patzer, North Marion 109
T35. Sam Scales, Valley Catholic 109
T37. Kayle Snyder Seaside 110
T37. Jose Napoli, Valley Catholic 110
T39. Samantha Maddox, Marist 111
T39. Maddie Cloninger, Klamath Union 111
T39. Brenna Sackett, North Valley 111
T39. Neyda Segura, Woodburn 111
43. Ashley Caldera, Marshfield 113
44. Mia Detinger, Klamath Union 115
45. Emily Philberook, Seaside 116
46. Baylie Brotherton, North Marion 119
47. Ana Sanchez, Woodburn 120
48. Maia Stout, Newport 123
49. Dylann Justice, La Grande 125
50. Kylie Carver, Newport 126
51. Liz Hernandez-Perez, Klamath Union 133
52. McKinley Casson, Klamath Union 136
53. MyLia Brackin, Marshfield 186
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