Fall sports preview: Boys golf

The Thomas Jefferson Raiders boys golf team brings back a lot of talented golfers from last year’s team that finished fourth in the South Puget Sound League North Division with a 3-4 record.

The Raiders and head coach Dave Hunter lost only one player off the 2006 team and bring back a pair of players who competed at last year’s Class 4A State Golf Championships.

Charles Lee and Quinn Hildebrandt both rolled into the state tournament out of the rugged West Central District as sophomores.

Lee was ultra impressive in his first trip to state. He finished 24th out of 80 golfers after firing rounds of 73 and 76. Hildebrandt failed to make it past the first day with an opening round 80.

But Lee and Hildebrandt aren’t the only players coming back for head coach Dave Hunter. Also returning are Brian Brown, Keenan Darrow, Brent Brown, Sean Carroll, Krammer Thompson, Erik Jarvey, Jason Minerich, Andrew Jones and Corbin White.

“We have to play well as a team with all six players contributing and we have to play well under pressure in the big matches and tournaments,” Hunter said. “We should be near the top of the league.”

Beamer Titans

The Todd Beamer Titans finished last season with an impressive 6-1 record in the South Puget Sound League South Division. The Titans’ only loss came to the undefeated Curtis Vikings.

But a lot has changed since last year. The Titans and head coach Jim Nilsen lost the most successful player in school history, Thomas Jun, and have a very young and inexperienced team.

“We just need to have some players step up and play to their potential,” Nilsen said. “We need to show consistent play through our team.”

Sophomore Broc Johnson and junior Tyler Collins lead the short list of returners for the Titans.

On Tuesday, Johnson fired a 1-over par, 37, at Sumner Meadows Golf Course to earn medalist honors and Collins tallied a 38.

Leading the list of newcomers is junior Jung Shim, who shot a 38 in an 81-37 win over Kent-Meridian.

“Winning isn’t everything, but to be successful we need to protect our turf and play strong at our home course and be competitive at away matches,” Nilsen said. We have a good attitude and team chemistry and should only get better over the season and the next couple of years.”

Decatur Gators

The Decatur Gators are hoping to improve on last year’s 3-4 record in the South Puget Sound League North Division.

The Gators have a talented group of golfers this year, led by Colin McKenzie, Matt Parker and Taylor Roberts.

The threesome has been solid in the early season for Decatur. Roberts fired an even-par 35 Thursday during an 86-70 loss to the Curtis Vikings at Fircrest Country Club and Parker shot a 40. McKenzie was one of the Gators’ top players last season and tied with Parker for medalist honors during a victory over Federal Way last week.

Federal Way Eagles

The Eagles struggled last season on their way to a 1-6 record in the South Puget Sound League North Division. But Federal Way should be a much better team this year.

“Our team is much improved over the last two seasons,” said head coach Mike Minahan. “I like our work ethic and am confident that we will be one of the most improved teams in the SPSL. To get to the next level our players need to get tournament experience outside of high school golf.”

The Eagles bring back senior Brandon Robbins and Blake Divelbiss, juniors Austin Reynolds, Jarred Lee and Colin Harris and sophomore Lucas Tisdel. Federal Way will also be helped out by newcomers Andrew Baker and Jordan Ferguson.

“Our team has very little experience outside of high school golf,” Minahan said. “This hurts our confidence and puts us at a disadvantage with other teams.”

The Eagles have started the season with a pair of losses to Decatur and Beamer, but Robbins earned medalist honors with a 4-over, 40 during a 60-48 loss to Beamer at North Shore Golf Course.

“While we have consistently improved, our division is quite strong and we have a ways to go to compete,” Minahan said. “We have a goal to be the most improved team in our league, which is a strong possibility.”

Sports editor Casey Olson: 925-5565,

Federal Way Eagles

Coach: Mike Minahan

Last year’s record: 1-6 (seventh in North)

Strong returners: Sr. Brandon Robbins, Sr. Blake Divelbiss, Jr. Austin Reynolds, Jr. Jarred Lee, Jr. Colin Harris, Soph. Lucas Tisdel.

Top newcomers: Sr. Andrew Baker and Fr. Jordan Ferguson

Thomas Jefferson Raiders

Coach: Dave Hunter

Last year’s record: 3-4 (fourth in North)

Strong returners: Jr. Charles Lee, Sr. Brian Brown, Jr. Keenan Darrow, Jr. Quinn Hildebrandt, Soph. Brent Brown, Jr. Sean Carroll, Sr. Krammer Thompson, Soph. Erik Jarvey, Jr. Jason Minerich, Jr. Andrew Jones and Soph. Corbin White.

Top newcomers: None listed

Todd Beamer Titans

Coach: Jim Nilsen

Last year’s record: 6-1 (second in South)

Strong returners: Soph. Broc Johnson and Jr. Tyler Collins

Top newcomers: Jr. Jung Shim

Decatur Gators

Coach: Kevin Olson

Last year’s record: 3-4 (fourth in North)

Strong returners: Colin McKenzie, Matt Parker, Taylor Roberts

Top newcomers: None listed

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