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PREP GOLF: Raiders and Gators return state contenders
The Thomas Jefferson High School girls golf team was the class of the South Puget Sound League a season ago. The Raiders finished a perfect 10-0 in the SPSL Central Division and fourth at the Class 4A State Girls Golf Championships.
Jefferson hopes to continue that success again this year and will be counting on Hanna Yi to accomplish the goal. The junior finished in seventh place at the state tournament a season ago after firing a first-round 80, followed with an 83 in the second round.
Head coach Jim von Doehren will also count on newcomers Angelica Bogue and Jenna Mullar to score points.
“If the girls come to practice every day and are willing to focus on their skills, we should be competitive,” von Doehren said. “Our expectations are that we are competitive in the SPSL Central.”
But the Raiders aren’t the only Federal Way school district team that claimed a state trophy last season. The Decatur Gators also return a state podium finisher in junior Celia Beyke.
Last season, as a sophomore, Beyke finished an impressive fifth at the Class 3A Girls State Golf Tournament at the Lewis River Golf Course. Beyke’s individual finish led the Gators to a fourth-place team trophy.
Taylor Trembly and Miranda Lehman also played at the state championships for the Gators, and both made the cut.
The Beamer girls should drop off a little after finishing 6-4 a season ago. The Titans return Hannah Prince and Kyra Adams, and have four newcomers.
“We have some young, inexperienced newcomers,” head coach Justin Mentink said.
On the boys’ side, Jefferson is also loaded to make a run at the SPSL title. The Raiders will be led by state veteran A.J. Seo, who failed to make the cut by one stroke. Jefferson will also count on Sean Ye, Eugene Kim, David Jang and Jacob Ward to score points.
The Decatur boys should also finish near the top of the SPSL 3A Division. Head coach Kevin Olson brings back an impressive group of four in senior Carsten Olufson, juniors Spencer Clapp and Nick Brainard, and sophomore Devin Martinez. Clapp finished 17th at state last year.
Newcomers Nick Zellerhoff, Danny Klein and Dalyn James should also provide some depth for the Gators.
“We have four strong returning players, but because of our lack of depth, we are asking some inexperienced young players to develop quickly and play under varsity match pressure,” Olson said.
“We should be competitive in our league if Spencer and Carsten play well. Our top players should be making a run at qualifying for the state tournament.”
The Beamer boys will be leaning on Dax Wallat to lead the way during the SPSL Central season.