The Woodland High School’s girls golf team got off to a good start as they beat Hockinson, 208-209, on March 29.
Coach Aaron Blackwelder is happy with the results but knows the team has room for improvement.
“I like to call my team the ‘championship team,’” said Blackwelder. “We’re going to work really hard to get to that at the end of the season.”
He said one area the team could work on is their confidence, since the winter months made it difficult to find opportunities to play.
“It’s just a matter of getting them back into that comfort of playing competitive golf, and when we overcome that, it’s just refining skills at that point,” Blackwelder said.
A few key players returned this season. Blackwelder pointed out senior Zoe Jouwsma, who placed ninth in the league championship last year and took 10th place in the district tournament.
“Being in that top 10 finish, she’s done a lot of growth since then and I expect her to be even further up on that rank,” he said.
Another is sophomore Karalynn Conditt, who took 17th in last year’s league championship and 20th in districts.
“Being in the top 20, that’s a great feat for a freshman, and so I expect to see quite a bit of growth from her this season as well,” Blackwelder stated.
Lucy Sams, a junior, took 23rd place in league. Sams was not able to compete at districts last year because of COVID-19, but Blackwelder is hopeful she will make a comeback this year due to her standing in the previous league tournament.
As for sophomore Brooklyn Gaston, she currently has the third best score on the team. Blackwelder said he “expects greatness” from her this season.
In the league tournament this year, Blackwelder said Woodland will face off against five other teams from around Clark County, but for districts, that tournament will add teams from the northern half of the state like W.F. West, Aberdeen and Tumwater. Last year, the league championship included 32 golfers, while districts had around 70 golfers.
He also sees potential in a few new players, like junior Kendal Stansberry. Blackwelder said this is her first year competing on the varsity team.
“She’s really grown in the offseason and she’s now filling in a varsity position,” he said.
There’s also freshman Ashlyn Jacobs, who took part in her first match last week against Hockinson.
“It was her first time competing in a competitive nine-hole. She shot a 62, which beat the scores of several of the Hockinson varsity players,” he said.
Last year, Blackwelder said there was no state tournament because of the pandemic. This year it is set for Tumwater Valley in May.
“I’m hoping to get as many girls into (the state tournament) as possible,” he said. “I believe in my team and I don’t see why we can’t take all six of (the varsity golfers).”
Last year, the team took first place at the district tournament and secured second in league.
They lost their last match against Camas on March 30, 224-163.
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