Acton advances to state

Talk about a fast learner.

Just over a year ago, Lauren Acton got her first ever taste of competitive golf when she stepped onto the course as a sophomore for Oak Harbor High School.

“She had never really golfed at all, she just kind of picked up the clubs,” head coach Andy Wesley said.

Fast forward to her junior year and Acton has done the unthinkable in what is generally considered a very hard-to-learn sport.

Competing in the Northwest 4A District Tournament at Sudden Valley Golf Course in Bellingham on Monday and Tuesday, Acton claimed 10th place overall and earned an automatic berth to the state tournament in Kennewick.

“She’s worked really hard in the off-season,” Wesley said. “She just really put her game together—it’s not easy to do what she’s done.”

Acton, who is also active with OHHS cheer, was unavailable for comment on her state berth, as she left immediately for a cheer event in North Carolina after shooting a two-day total of 196 (94-102).

Wesley, however, credits her quick learning and this season’s success to the approach she takes to the game.

“She always wanted to work hard,” he said. “When her swing wasn’t on she always wanted to go to the range and straighten it out—she’s a perfectionist when it comes to her game.”

Aside from Acton’s individual accomplishment, Oak Harbor did outstanding as a team.

The Wildcats finished second in the district with 102 points, only one point behind Kamiak, who claimed its fourth straight district title. A large part of Oak Harbor’s success came from its first day totals, which saw all four Wildcat golfers shoot in the 90’s, placing each athlete at 20th place or better.

“If we would have done what we did on the first day on the second day we would have ran away with it,” Wesley said. “Our first totals were just phenomenal.”

Having to meet at 6 a.m and drive to an 8 a.m. tee off in Bellingham for two straight days may have caught up with OHHS on Tuesday.

“I think if anything hindered us it was the back-to-back days of 18 holes,” Wesely said.

Two others will join Acton on the trip to state as alternates.

Seniors Camille Merritt and Danae Delacruz finished tied for 16th, just one place out of an automatic state berth. Both players shot combined two-day totals of 201. Junior Chelsea Gronbach also had an impressive performance, shooting a 204.

Cascade’s Renee Skidmore ran away with the individual district title, shooting a 152, 11 strokes ahead of the nearest finisher.

The state tournament begins Monday, May 24 at Meadow Springs Golf Club in Richland and wraps up May 25.

Sudden Valley G.C., 36 holes, Par 144

Team scores: Kamiak 103, Oak Harbor 102, Marysville-Pilchuck 92, Cascade 86, Mountlake Terrace 83.5, Monroe 79, Arlington 60, Everett 42.5, Edmonds-Woodway 35, Stanwood 27.5.

Oak Harbor scores: Lauren Acton 94-102-196; Camille Merritt 96-105-201; Danae Delacruz 92-109-201; Chelsea Gronbach 98-106-204.

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