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Prep girls golf: Bearcats cruise to EvCo league title

May 6—Evergreen Conference Meet

Team scores

1. W.F. West 212

2. Black Hills 157

T3. Aberdeen 123

T3. Centralia 123

5. Tumwater 89

6. Rochester 82

7. Shelton 33

Top-5 individuals

1. Natalie Eklund (W.F. West) 83

2. Garcie Oien (W.F. West) 90

3. Britt Rajcich (Aberdeen) 92

4. Kaitlyn McCraken (Aberdeen) 96

5. Emily Wilkerson (Centralia) 97

All-league MVP — Eklund

All-league first team — Eklund, Oien, Rajcich, McCraken, Ellie Johnson (Black Hills), Abby Alexander (W.F. West), Saylor Heikkila (Aberdeen)

All-league second team — Isabella Masias (Rochester), Lily Wagner (Tumwater), Carlie Deskins (W.F. West), Wilkerson, Macee Shannon (W.F. West), Natalie Buchanan (Black Hills)

Districts has been the week that the W.F. West High School girls golf team puts together a winning performance. It captured the Class 2A district tournament a year ago and sent five girls through to state.

That magic hadn't been harnessed for the Evergreen Conference meet in a few years.

"It is pretty exciting when you have this group of seniors who have been around a while," Bearcats head coach Matt Klovdahl said. "It has been fun to see them progress and develop as a group."

Experience played a large factor on Monday afternoon.

Ignited by the league MVP in Natalie Eklund and four top-eight finishers, W.F. West won with a stableford score of 212 points to cruise by the rest of the league at Riverside Golf Club in Chehalis.

Five of the six girls in its lineup are seniors. Eklund and individual runner-up Gracie Oien have been with the program since their freshman seasons.

"We're all really tight-knit," Eklund said. "We put so much work in and it is very much a team sport. We know that practice makes perfect."

Black Hills was second with 157 points while Centralia tied with Aberdeen at 123 points. Tumwater nudged by Rochester 89-82 for fifth place in the team race.

The Bearcats fell to the Bobcats a year ago, but more than made up for it this spring.

"It has been a while," Klovdahl said. "The consistency of their playing abilities has improved. They talk about putting banners up in the gym."

Eklund was the lone individual to break 85 in her 18-hole round. She admitted her front nine was "messy" with some greens missed and her short game not working well.

It was a quick mental reset before the final nine holes. She felt her game was much improved to close with the only sub-90 of the day.

"I just told myself 'This is a whole new nine' and I had to leave my whole front nine behind me," Eklund said. "I'm proud I was able to (rebound)." My putting really improved."

Oien carded a 90 while Carlie Deskins and Abby Alexander recorded a 102 and 103, respectively.

It is Deskins' first year in the W.F. West lineup after missing last spring with the torn ACL she suffered during the 2022-23 basketball season.

"She played all summer and took to it," Klovdahl said.

The district tournament kicks off next week for two days at Three Rivers Golf Course in Kelso. Day one is next Monday and the top-40 will play 18 more holes on Tuesday with the chance to qualify for state.

The Bearcats are attempting to go back-to-back and potentially send their whole lineup to MeadowWood GC in Liberty Lake.

"That is our main goal," Eklund said.

Centralia senior Emily Wilkerson secured a fifth place finish individually, firing a 97 while Black Hills' Ellie Johnson, named to the all-league first team, was sixth with a 101. Rochester's Isabella Masias (105) and Tumwater's Lily Wagner (111) were the highest finisher's on their respective teams.