Golfers win first district championship in history

The Sweet Home boys golf team won its first district title in history last week at the Val-Co League District Tournament at Trysting Tree Golf Club in Corvallis.

The win also guaranteed the Huskies their first trip to state as a team in school history. Individual golfers have gone in the past, including Travis Ramoz and Taylor Huschka last year, but this is the first time the whole team has qualified.

“We played our best golf of the season,” Coach Tom Horn said. “It was a total team effort. Each player contributed to the success of the team.”

Sweet Home finished with a team score of 336-330-666, three ahead of Newport (341-328-669), which also qualified for the state tournament, to be held May 12 and 13 at Emerald Valley in Creswell. Taft (339-336-675) and Central (390-377-767) finished third and fourth.

Junior Travis Ramoz led the Huskies over the two-day tournament on May 5 and 6, shooting 78-81-159 to finish third overall as an individual. Senior Taylor Huschka overcame a slow start to finish one stroke back, in fourth, with a 79-81-160.

“Travis set the pace for everyone,” Horn said, noting that Ramoz, who has been the No. 2 golfer for the Huskies in most tournaments this season, shot a 36 over the first nine holes. Horn said another highlight of the tournament was Huschka coming back strong to finish two over on the back nine on the first day.

Senior Nick Zahler was a major key to the team’s success, though, placing sixth with a “solid, solid, solid” 83-80-163. His nine-hole breakdowns were 41-42 and 40-40.

“Nick played the best golf of his high school career,” Horn said. “He did not let a little adversity get him down.”

Sophomore Jake Riggs fired a 41 for the front nine on the second day to get off to a great start on the second half and finish 96-88-184.

“That was a great score to get started,” Horn said. “He kept us in the lead at the end of nine on Day 2.”

Senior Markus Thedford stayed under 100 for both days, carding a 96-97-193 and showing “consistent play,” particularly on Day 1, Horn said.

Ross Martin of Newport shot a two-day total of 146 and won medalist honors for the tournament. Central’s Tyler Morgan, in fourth place at the turn, came back on the back nine to card a 75 for a two-day total of 155 and place second.

Ramoz and Huschka both garnered first team all-league honors, while Zahler was named to the second team.

Horn was named league coach of the year.

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The Husky boys had a poor showing early last week in their final league tune-up before districts but played better on Wednesday in a highly competitive tournament in Southern Oregon.

At Oak Knoll on Tuesday, April 29, the Huskies could have nailed down the league title but they stumbled as only Nick Zahler played to his average, shooting a 91, Coach Tom Horn said.

Taft shot a team score of 336 to take the tournament, ahead of Newport (367), the Huskies (378) and Central (405).

Jason Rice filled in admirably at the last instant for an absent Travis Ramoz and played the best round of his short career, shooting 110. “Everyone was just off their normal game,” Horn said.

Taylor Huschka was fourth with an 85, five over his season-long average.

Jake Riggs shot 102 to round out Sweet Home’s scoring.

Sweet Home was back in action Wednesday, April 30, at Centennial Golf Course in Medford, where the Huskies finished 12th out of 16 in a strong field at the Phoenix Invitational. The tournament featured three 6A schools, five 5A schools and the defending state champion 4A school, Horn said.

“It was very tough competition, which is what we were looking for as a tune-up to the district tournament,” he said. “We played fairly well as a team. Huschka led the charge, finishing eighth in a very strong individual field. His 37 on the first nine had him in third place at the turn. Only a double bogie – bogie finish kept him out off the medal stand.

Zahler finished second for Sweet Home with 91, followed by Ramoz (100), Riggs and Markus Thedford, who both shot 107.

Phoenix High, the defending 4A champion, won its own tournament, shooting a strong 323 followed by North Medford at 325. Sweet Home scored 378, to come back on league rival Taft, which shot 380.