With four of five starters returning and a new allocation for qualifying for state, Oak Harbor High School boys golf coach David Smith believes the Wildcats have a legitimate shot at earning a state berth this spring.
Returning are regulars seniors Haven Brown, Nate Thompson and Wyatt Bright and junior Nick Krantz.
Krantz has qualified for state as an individual in each of his two seasons with Oak Harbor, placing 24th last spring. He also earned first-team, all-Wesco honors in 2018.
Brown was a second-team, all-Wesco player last year and has one state qualification under his belt.
The top three teams at the district tournament now qualify for state. In the past, only the top individuals at district moved on to state, and if two or more from the same school qualified, they could earn a team score. Now the entire five-person teams will go to state as a unit.
“I think we have a legitimate change to finish in the top three at districts,” Smith said.
Therefore, one goal this season is “to bring all five golfers to state,” he added.
Since Smith will lose three current golfers to graduation this year, another goal is for the incoming ninth-grade golfers to “really improve this season so they can help the team next year.”
Smith expects two freshmen, Aiden Wyer and Cole Valdez, to be major assets this year.
“I am very excited to see how they will contribute to the varsity program,” Smith said. “Both golfers have a lot of potential, and I think they will be a great addition to the team. They have experience playing at WGC and their parents are members at the golf course.”
The season will be a success, Smith said, if the team rises to its potential.
“I know this team has the playing ability and potential to do great things this season,” he said. “We just need to step up and do it when it matters. I also think our success depends on the veteran players supporting the incoming ninth graders.”
Smith also praised Whidbey Golf Club for its support. The course is in “amazing” shape, and club members have been supportive by providing supplies and running a fundraising tournament.