After winning the district title, Central Catholic's boys aim to improve on last year's 13th-place finish in the 6A tournament.
After winning the district title, Central Catholic's boys aim to improve on last year's 13th-place finish in the 6A tournament.

Central Catholic had to work overtime in the Mt. Hood Conference district tournament to secure a berth in the 6A boys golf championships.

The Rams entered district May 2 at Stone Creek Golf Club in Oregon City with a four-point lead over Clackamas in the standings, winning four of the six conference tournaments.

But the Cavaliers outscored Central Catholic 308-319 for first place, and with the district tournament counting for double points, the teams stood tied atop the standings with 70 points each. That initiated an overtime session to determine the conference's only automatic berth to the 6A tournament.

The teams started overtime by going head-to-head on No. 17, a 408-yard par-4, one of the course's most difficult holes. Central Catholic secured the victory by winning all three flights on No. 17 behind senior Henry Sanders, juniors Dylan Crowell and Lucas DePalma, freshman Blake Kappes and sophomore Liam McGinty.

“They were ecstatic,” Rams coach John Guthrie said of his players. “Clackamas was hot. We had a lead on the front nine and were kind of faltering on the back. The guys were like, 'OK, we knew this was a possibility.'”

Central Catholic stood up under the pressure and stopped the Clackamas surge in what was believed to be the first overtime to settle the district championship in Mt. Hood history.

“We just kind of rallied,” Guthrie said. “I checked in with each golfer and said, 'What do we need to do to get our mind right? After regulation, go to the range, go putt, whatever. It's a reset. They want a rematch? It's right here, right now.'”

By repeating as district champion, Central Catholic avoided a treacherous regional qualifier between Mt. Hood and Three Rivers League teams Monday at the OGA Golf Course in Woodburn. West Linn (310) and Tigard (316) – Three Rivers teams – earned the two state qualifying berths, beating third-place Clackamas (322).

“That's kind of the kiss of death for the Mt. Hood,” Guthrie said of the regional. “Those schools are tough. We're not afraid to play anybody anytime, but definitely if we can avoid having to take on that moment, let's avoid it.”

Guthrie praised his team for rising in the moment. The previous week, Central Catholic edged Clackamas in a Mt. Hood tournament on the final hole. The Rams also showed their mettle April 23 by winning the Seaside Invitational at Astoria Golf & Country Club by two strokes over Sherwood.

“We've been in tough spots all year,” Guthrie said. “Beating Sherwood was a big one for us. They're a top-five team. I think that was our first invitational win in school history.”

Reynolds junior Mason Ho won the Mt. Hood district tournament at Stone Creek, firing a 2-under 70 to beat Clackamas junior Luke Clarizio (73), Clackamas sophomore David Lim (75), Sanders (76) and Crowell (77). Central Catholic's other scorers were DePalma (82) and Kappes (84).

Central Catholic, which won its only state title in 1958, is looking to improve on a 13th-place finish at state last year. The Rams' lineup will get a boost with addition of junior Michael Baldwin, who has returned from injury. Baldwin shot a 74 in a match against Washougal (Wash.) at Orchard Hills on Monday.

“If we're hot, we can compete with the best of everybody,” Guthrie said. “I feel like a top-five finish is possible.”

Guthrie, a first-year coach, is looking to build Central Catholic into a golf power that will challenge Jesuit.

“I'm telling you, we're coming after that title,” Guthrie said. “We're trying to put that emphasis on golf. The same way we talk about football, volleyball, cross country, basketball, we want to talk about Central Catholic golf.”

Boys state champs qualify

Reigning 6A boys champion Lake Oswego punched its ticket to state by winning the Three Rivers district tournament April 30 at Stone Creek.

The Lakers were led by sophomore Drew Woolworth, who shot 141 to finish in second place behind Lakeridge senior Nilay Naik (137). Also for Lake Oswego, senior Adam Wrenn placed sixth at 154 and seniors Adam Blackmore and Braden Larsen tied for seventh at 155.

The three other boys state champion teams from last year also have qualified for state. Summit won the 5A Intermountain Conference tournament, Baker won the 4A Special District 4 tournament and Oregon Episcopal claimed the third and final qualifying spot in the 3A/2A/1A Special District 1 tournament.

Jesuit girls back to state

Jesuit, last year's 6A girls champion, had to go to a regional to qualify for state this year.

Sunset grabbed the Metro League's automatic state berth, forcing the Crusaders into the Special District 1 regional Monday at Stone Creek. Led by junior Ceceli Hayes (fourth-78), they earned one of the three qualifying berths by shooting 342 to beat Mountainside (357) and Cleveland (374).

Cleveland sophomore Kate Ly, the 6A runner-up last year, shot a 2-under 70 to win the SD1 tournament by one stroke over Westview freshman Melinee Udom.

Summit and Crook County, last year's champions in 5A and 4A/3A/2A/1A, respectively, also will get a chance to defend their titles. Summit qualified by winning the Intermountain district tournament and Crook County made it by taking first in the Special District 1 tournament.