Huskies finish 11th in state golf championships

When Tom Horn took over the golf coaching job at Sweet Home High School in 1995, the team was in poor shape.

“Our motto was ‘From worst to first,'” Horn recalled this week. “We finally made it.”

Fresh off their first district title in school history, the Huskies finished finished 11th in a field of 14 Tuesday at the two-day 4A state championship tournament held at the Emerald Valley Golf Course in Creswell.

It was a difficult day, Horn said, as Sweet Home dropped one place, from 10th after the first round finishing 363-364-727.

“Our team score was the same as it was the day before, but we didn’t play as well overall,” Horn said of Tuesday’s round. “It was a tough golf course and there were a lot of factors that contributed to that score.”

Taylor Huschka had a hard day Tuesday, finishing in a three-way tie for 16th after shooting 86 to finish with a 165 in the field of 91 golfers. Huschka finished Monday’s round in a four-way tie for sixth overall with a seven-over-par 79.

Horn said Huschka, who has been the Huskies’ No. 1 golfer all year, got off to a slow start Tuesday and ran into some trouble as he tried to battle back.

“I felt really bad for Taylor,” he said. “He’s as good as those players who were in that tournament. He made a couple of decisions that really didn’t work out for himself. He’s put a lot into the game and he’s a better player than that.”

Nick Zahler finished second for Sweet Home, with a two-day score of 91-87-178 to finished in a tie for 47th.

“Nick Zahler played better than his average over two days,” Horn said, adding that the rest of the team played right about where they’ve been this season.

Travis Ramoz finished third for the Huskies (94-90-184, 61st overall), Jake Riggs fourth (99-104-203, 85th) and Markus Thedford fifth (129-101-221, 89th).

Ross Martin of Newport was the highest finisher out of the Val-Co League, winding up tied for 11th with a 84-79-163. The Cubs finished one spot behind the Huskies at 735.

Sweet Home’s boys started off “really, really well” on the front nine of the tournament Monday, Horn said. Then things fell apart for the Huskies, who went from a 167 team score on the front nine to 363 for the first day’s round.

“We had an excellent front nine,” he said. “We played as good as we’ve played all year.”

Marist won the team title after finishing the first day tied with Phoenix at 315. The Spartans pulled away with a 305 on Day 2, to finish with a 620 two-day score, to Phoenix’s 644. Marist’s Robbie Pitts shot a one-under-par 71 to move from third place to first (78-71-149), with teammate Jack Pennington second with a two-day score of 75-75-150. Sisters took third as a team with a 658.

“I thought we could have played better,” Horn said. “The good news is that it was a fantastic experience for these guys. It was a big tournament. It was exciting. It was a first-class experience, something these guys really haven’t seen before.”

He said the Huskies “handled adversity like you’re supposed to handle it. Every one of them did well,” he said.

Horn said he hopes that with two returnees in Ramoz, a junior, and Riggs, a sophomore, and the largest group of junior varsity players he’s had during his time at Sweet Home, there might be enough of an impetus to keep the success going.

“The same teams are there every year,” he said. “The reason is because those kids are excited about the game. We have two guys coming back, Riggs and Ramoz. Maybe they can be leaders enough to grab some of those JV guys and come back.

“Maybe this might be the catalyst for us to continue to grow as a program. The kids can see now what it’s all about.”