In a season that’s flying by nearly as fast as the east wind, the Camas High School (CHS) boys golf team is already preparing for the postseason, which began earlier this week.
The Papermakers set a school record on Thursday, Oct. 4, by carding a 140 at Camas Meadows Golf Club against Battle Ground High School.
The score was the lowest in school history for a par-36 course, and was recorded in wet, soggy conditions. The Papermakers’ No. 1 golfer, junior Owen Huntington, shot a 4-under 32, and his freshman brother Eli fired a 3-under 33.
Evan Chen, another freshman, finished with a 37, and senior Derek Harker scored a 38 for the Papermakers, who clinched the 4A Greater St. Helens League title with the win.
CHS coach Ed Givens said his team received a big boost this season with the addition of his two starting freshman.
“Evan and Eli are playing Nos. 1 and 2 for us and they usually play right around par,” he said. “That’s a good mix. Plus I have lots of seniors returning.”
Eli and Owen had been playing together in the same foursome all season until Givens decided to put them in different pairings for the Oct. 4 match.
“Having them play together can go both ways,” Givens said. “They are so competitive with each other that sometimes it is a bit hard on them because they are brothers. But for the most part they build on each other and they encourage each other.”
On Oct. 1, the Huntington brothers played in the same pairing against Union High School at Camas Meadows. Owen shot a 34 and Eli struggled a bit, finishing with a 41, but the Papermakers still managed to win the match 169-171.
Papermakers taking advantage of deep pool of talent
Caleb Shira, a junior, is another top golfer for CHS. Shira was a second-team all-4A Greater St. Helens League selection last season.
“He could play for anybody,” Givens said. “He’s a real good player.”
Leo Cassel also returns to the Papermakers after playing in the No. 5 position last season.
In typical high school golf matches, only five golfers are selected to compete, and only the top four scores are counted toward the team score. For Givens, the deep pool of talent is a luxury and a challenge as he must select who gets to compete before every match.
“It’s tough,” he said. “They are all within a few strokes of each other, so I’m always trying to figure out how to play each match.”
The league champion Papermakers participated in the 4A District 1 tournament, held at Tri-Mountain Golf Course in Ridgefield on Oct. 9-10, with Owen Huntington, Eli Huntington, Chen, Shira, Harker and Cassel scheduled to participate.
The district tournament will determine who qualifies for a bi-district tournament, which determines who advances to the 4A state meet. Both of those tournaments will be held in May, which means qualifying players must stay on top of their game throughout the winter months and then start practicing again with Givens two weeks before the bi-district tournament.
“I have such little time to get these kids into some kind of playing order,” he said. “A lot of schools in the northern part of the state play spring golf, so they are playing their season in the spring and we’re playing our season in the fall.”