ILWACO - Coach Dan Whealdon has a healthy mix of experience and new faces among the 20 golf hopefuls who have been working on their game since March 7. A big change for the guys is the return to the 1A classification and also the return to golfing in the spring instead of the fall as the 2A's do.
Senior Peter Gaynor will anchor the boys team as he tries to repeat or improve upon his brilliant third-place finish at the state 2A level last season. Whealdon has high praise for Gaynor's talent. Joining him at the head of the golf class at IHS is Michael Lambert who the coach says can challenge Gaynor for the top spot on the team after playing a solid summer of golf.
"Both Gaynor and Lambert have the game to go to state," Whealdon predicted.
Derek Yasunaka is "playing well" already and provides experience.
Casey Marsh, Mark Wirkkala, Joe Berglund, Matt Lessnau, Tom Browning, and Ryan Goulet are all competing for the fourth and fifth varsity spots according to Whealdon.
The boys will combine with Districts I, II, and III so that there will be about two dozen teams vying for what Whealdon believed would be about 22 berths to the state tourney that will be held in Spokane this year.
The girls are led by Merrissa Janas, who is "hitting the ball very well" according to the coach. "She has a chance to be the first girl golfer from Ilwaco to qualify for state." Brianna Beller and Jenny Van Over are playing quite well and first-year golfers Angela Kimbrough, Kelly Freese, and Flo Galvan are all in the hunt for one of the five varsity sports according to Whealdon.
The girls will compete for about a half-dozen spots to state in the District IV tournament at Port Orchard.
The linksters will host a jamboree with boy and girl teams from North Beach, Adna, Raymond, and Valley today at 1 p.m. in Surfside. Golf is one of the few high school sports that can have a jamboree before a minimum number of practices must be participated in by the competitors.
Coach Whealdon expressed his gratitude to Jon and Lexie Kukula of Surfside Golf Course and Brad Suchy at Peninsula Golf Course for providing practice and game facilities. Both the boys and girls will compete together at home matches in Surfside during the 2005 season.