Woodburn boys place runner up at 4A golf showcase
Woodburn senior Cole Beyer stood behind the green on the 18th hole at Trysting Tree Golf Club on May 19, watching his teammates finish their rounds at the 2021 4A boys golf state championship showcase.
As the Bulldogs each took their turns finishing their rounds, it became increasingly apparent that this team was on the cusp of making program history.
With three personal best scores and three scores under 80, the Bulldog boys golf team placed second at the single-day state championship event, becoming the highest-placing team in the history of Woodburn High School golf.
"Everything just lined up for us yesterday," Woodburn head coach Neil Wilhelm said after the event. "We couldn't get past Marist, but I tell you what, Marist is the only team that has beaten us this year and we've played them three times."
Woodburn finished with a combined score of 322 — 21 strokes behind the state champion Marist Spartans, who successfully defended their 2019 4A title.
The results were much closer behind Woodburn, with Banks following at 325 to place third. Valley Catholic was three strokes behind the Braves for a fourth-place score of 328.
"We needed every single stroke," Wilhelm said. "Second place, that's to my knowledge the best we've ever done."
The Woodburn coach speculated that the team's final score is likely a program-best for the Bulldogs as well.
Beyer's personal-best score of 68 co-led the field along with Tillamook sophomore Elliot Lee. The Woodburn senior went on to defeat Lee in a sudden death playoff to win the individual state title.
Following closely behind was senior Jordan Blem and Beyer's younger brother, sophomore Ty, both of whom shot a 77 to tie for ninth place and earn all-state honors.
"Ty, although he's probably going to tell you he's not happy, played a fantastic round," Wilhelm said. "It's a great round in a pressure-packed situation when we had to have some good scores with trophies on the line and medals on the line. To step up like that with as young as he is and with as little competitive experience. You got to remember he didn't play last year, so essentially he's a freshman in terms of experience."
It was Blem's third trip to state, having competed at the 5A event as a freshman in 2018 and at the 4A championships in 2019. But the senior's score at Trysting Tree was a far cry from his previous state competitions, where he shot over 100 in both days as a freshman and in the mid-90s as a sophomore.
"He had the round of his life," Wilhelm said. "I think his previous best was 85. He's a gamer. When the lights are on, he performs his best. Hats off to him. What a great way to end his senior year."
But as is often the case, a team's placing isn't dependent on its top golfers, but the fourth and fifth athletes on the roster. And with a personal-best score of 100 for Santiago Roque and a 110 from Elijah Leon, Woodburn's runner-up trophy was just as much won by them.
Leon served as Woodburn's fourth-scoring varsity golfer for much of the season, a heavy burden for a player with no competitive experience entering this season.
"He's played a little golf with his family and his dad," Wilhelm said. "Because of our numbers, we had to rely on him pretty much all year. He handled the pressure fabulously and he shot a pretty good score for him on the lower end of his average."
But it was Roque who ultimately proved the difference between second and fourth place for the Bulldogs. And unlike Leon, Roque didn't even have a base-level of experience, just three teammates on the football team cajoling him into joining them on the golf course.
"He only picked up a club six weeks ago," Wilhelm said. "He's a good football player, he's a good wrestler. He is a hard worker. He embraced it.
"Cole, Jordan and Ty really took him under his wings and helped him out. He was out there on weekends with them."
Roque recorded his first career birdie on the fifth hole, finishing with a score of 50 on each half of the course.
"It's hard to express how happy I am for them right now. As a coach you see how hard they work in practice and how hard they work in the off season," Wilhelm said. "What a perfect ending to an amazing season."
Wilhelm credited the OGA golf course in Woodburn and the course's head golf professional Mark Keating with the work that has been put into raising the level of youth golf in Woodburn over the past decade-plus.
"it takes a village to do what our kids did there," Wilhelm said. "I cannot overestimate how important Mark Keating and his team has been in the development of our kids and program.
"Essentially we've been able to break down every obstacle to access kids for golf," he continued. That's not that common in other communities, because they've got a business to run and they've got to make money. We would not be where we are without their support."
North Marion's Jack Brewer was making his own history on Trysting Tree, shooting a final score of 88 to place tied for 29th on the day.
A week after winning the district title to qualify for the state event, Brewer became just the third Husky to compete in a boys championship event, joining Ben Crumley (2013, 2014) and Kevin Morales (2002).
Brewer birdied the par five fifth hole en route to finishing the front nine tied for 17th with a score of 40. On the day, Brewer recorded pars on the second, sxith, ninth and 10th holes to finish in the top half of the field.
2021 4A Boys Golf State Championship
Tuesday, May 18 at Trysting Tree Golf Club
1. Marist 301
2. Woodburn 322
3. Banks 325
4. Valley Catholic 328
5. La Grande 348
6. Cascade 354
7. Marshfield 356
8. Baker 400
9. North Valley 419
1. Cole Beyer, Woodburn 68
2. Elliot Lee, Tillamook 68
3. Alec Vendetti, Marist 70
4. Carson Kawasoe, Seaside 71
5. Curtis Kunde, Seaside 72
6. Ryoma Lane, Valley Catholic 75
T7. Nick Watts, Marist 76
T7. Ramsey Goran, Cascade 76
T9. Ty Beyer, Woodburn 77
T9. Jordan Blem, Woodburn 77
T9. Ben Prouix, Marist 77
12. Matt Solomon, Marist 78
13. Aaron Brown, Banks 80
T14. Henry Lo, Valley Catholic 81
T14. Jake Walters, Banks 81
T14. Cruz Kilborn, North Valley 81
T17. Ben Cost, Banks 82
T17. John Cost, Banks 82
T17. Ben Mahaffy, Marshfield 82
T17. Tyce Helmick, Ontario 82
21. Jason Cusic, Junction City 83
T22. Lucas Howell, Valley Catholic 84
T22. Tristan Shepherd, La Grande 84
T22. Jordan Lee, Marist 84
T22. Jesse Maldonodo, Baker 84
T22. Evan Eby, Sisters 84
27. John Remily, La Gande 85
28. Ky Hemelstrand, Cascade 87
T29. Jack Brewer, North Marion 88
T29. Cooper Howard, Valley Catholic 88
T29. Gabe Mahaffy, Marshfield 88
T32. Lucas Young, La Grande 89
T32. Kaden Ericksen, Cottage Grove 89
T34. Anton Evans, La Grande 90
T34. Oscar Day, Marshfield 90
36. Bo Wormington, Banks 93
37. Kaden Conklin, Baker 84
T38. Aiden Liu, Valley Catholic 95
T38. Izaah Zavala, Cascade 95
T40. Mason Pederson, Marshfield 96
T40. Ben Hemelstrand, Cascade 96
T42. Jack Sunderman, La Grande 97
T42. Carson Perry, Sweet Home 97
T44. Max Cartwright, North Valley 98
T44. Elliot Crowder, Newport 98
46. Colin Smittle, Cascade 99
T47. Santiago Roque, Woodburn 100
T47. Joseph Himenez, Sweet Home 100
49. Addison Bowen, Gladstone 103
T50. Kyle Cloniger, Klamath Union 104
T50. Gavin Stecher, Baker 104
52. Owen Bromley, Stayton 108
53. Elijah Leon, Woodburn 110
54. Easton Taylor, North Valley 116
55. Cade Rudi, Baker 118
T56. Alex Ritter, Baker 124
T56. Brooks Nelson, North Valley 124
58. Caleb Johnston, North Valley 126
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