The East Jefferson Rivals boys and girls golf teams got into the swing of things, facing four other Nisqually League teams in Thursday afternoon’s Port Townsend Invitational …
The East Jefferson Rivals boys and girls golf teams got into the swing of things, facing four other Nisqually League teams in Thursday afternoon’s Port Townsend Invitational tournament.
Participating in a nine-hole, stroke play tourney, the Rivals golfers faced Cascade Christian School, Klahowya Secondary School, Vashon Island High, and Charles Wright Academy on April 27.
For the boys’ team, the Rivals ended in fourth place
(202 strokes) while the girls team finished in fifth place with 278 strokes.
Individually, EJ’s Lane Liske led the Rivals with a score of 45 to earn seventh place.
Tyler White finished with a 48, Nick Winegar had a 52, and Ryan Olson earned 57 for the Rivals. Sophie Heitstand and Ana Cole of the EJ girls team both shot 69 in the tournament.
For Head Coach Terry Khile of the Rivals, his focus has been around growing the high school golfing program since it returned a couple years back.
The program “more than doubled last year; we had five boys and two girls. This year, there’s 17,” Khile said.
“You’ve got to have a kind of feeder program and that was a big push from not only the [Port Townsend] Player’s Club here, but from some of the other coaches seeing kids out and about and inviting them to come up,” he added.
A challenge the program has faced and remedied in multiple ways has been the high cost of entry that comes with golf when it comes to equipment.
“That’s a big challenge, is the cost, but Gabe [Tonan] and the Player’s Club here have gone through and set up a whole bunch of clubs for the kids,” Khile said. “The kids, they get out of it what they put into it. And it’s a very dedicated game that takes a lot of focus.”
“I’ve had three first-year beginners play in three different varsity matches, because their scores are getting better and better,” Khile added.
With nine freshmen in the program this year, EJ has a lot of up-and-coming talent, including freshman Ryan Olson, junior Lane Liske, and sophomore Tyler White, Khile said.
For Olson, he loves “just playing the game; it’s a very relaxing game and competitive at the same time, just overall fun.”
“I like more of the competitive side,” the freshman said.
The Rivals were scheduled to face Cascade Christian School on the road in Tacoma on Tuesday, then take part in the Nisqually League Tournament on Monday, May 8 at Annie Wright Schools.
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