Sports

Falcons repeat as Cascade Conference champs

The 2008 Cascade Conference boys golf champions: front row, John Lindsay, Nathan Kamps, Blake Blakey and Jensen Connor; back row, from left, Coach Steve Jones, Brooks Guetlin, Perry Cooley and assistant coach Jim Thompson. - Jeff VanDerford / The Record
The 2008 Cascade Conference boys golf champions: front row, John Lindsay, Nathan Kamps, Blake Blakey and Jensen Connor; back row, from left, Coach Steve Jones, Brooks Guetlin, Perry Cooley and assistant coach Jim Thompson.
— image credit: Jeff VanDerford / The Record

USELESS BAY — Falcon golfer Blake Blakey had no hesitation describing how his undefeated golf team managed to be named Cascade Conference league champions for the second year in row.

“We went out there and did what we had to do,” he said.

“We were focused and consistent on every hole — each of our scores was under 80 and that equals a win.”

South Whidbey’s 383 beat King’s 390, Cedarcrest at 416, Archbishop Murphy with 416, Lakewood at 437 and Sultan, 441 at the par 72 Snohomish Golf Club on May 5.

In a high school match, six players compete and the five top — or low — scores are taken. John Lindsay shot 75, Blakey had 76, Jensen Connor shot 76, Nathan Kamps had 77 and Brooks Guetlin made 79. The sixth player, Perry Cooley, shot 82 — a good round by itself.

And it just gets better — this week Blakey, Lindsay and Connor were named to the Cascade All-Conference First Team; Kamps and Guetlin made the second team.

“This is a great group of boys and Jim [assistant coach Thompson] and I are proud to be associated with them,” Falcon coach Steve Jones said.

On May 12-13 the Falcons will be at Skagit Golf Club for the District One match. Of the 100 or so players, only 19 will qualify for a berth at state, held May 21 at Loomis Trail Golf Course in Blaine.

“Half of the boys won’t make the first day’s cut,” Jones said. “Skagit is a ball striker’s course, meaning you have to play an appropriate shot for each hole.”

At practice Wednesday at Useless Bay Golf Club, Jones planned to use holes one and two to simulate a couple of particularly tough ones at Skagit.

“Remember being off the left side around the draw on two,” he told the team, who nodded with complete comprehension.

Jones said the championship is a testament to their work ethic.

“They push each other every day — they take golf seriously, they talk and think about the game all the time,” Jones said. “In any given match, I have six guys who can score the low round.”

The coach said that in the final analysis, there’s no substitute for talent.

“If they take care of their individual game, the whole team benefits,” he said.

Lindsay shot a personal best at Snohomish, his game peaking just in time.

“I shot a 3 over par on the front nine and even par on the back,” Lindsay recalled. “I missed the cut last year and I’ve been taking lessons from golf pro Craig Patterson.”

Connor felt his game was pretty solid all day.

“I’m working on the tempo — the swing speed — to achieve a consistent start to each hole,” Connor said.

Defending a title is a big deal to Guetlin.

“We played the best golfers from each team and everyone was polite but we felt ourselves to be a big target,” Guetlin said. “There was no hostility but we knew they were after us.”

Cooley moved up this year from junior varsity.

“Yeah, I was nervous at the first tee, but I calmed down once we started playing,” Cooley recalled. “Being part of our school’s undefeated team is special.”

Kamps said his best moment came on hole nine when he chipped in to save the par 4.

“I was behind and would have bogied otherwise,” he said.

Blakey had the last word, the voice of experience, as he tries to qualify for the third straight year.

“This is all very cool — being league champ is terrific — but the competition heats up, so now’s the time for us to get it all together,” he said. “We can do it.”

Jeff VanDerford can be reached at 221-5300 or jvanderford@southwhidbeyrecord.com.

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