For the first time in recent history, The Dalles High Riverhawks girls golf team will be able to have a team score in tournaments.
The Riverhawks, guided by second-year Coach Nate Timmons, haven’t had the required number of four golfers to accumulate a team score in the past four years, but The Dalles will be able to do so with a five-member squad this year.
“We have two new girls along with our three returning varsity players from last year, so we’re growing and I’m pretty excited about the season,” said Timmons. “We were unable to get a team score in any tournament last year because we didn’t have four players. My goal is to get a team score at a tournament for the first time for our team, which would be really cool and it’s a big step for our program.”
The Riverhawks will again be led this year by 2022 OSAA Class 5A state tournament qualifier Katelyn Vassar, who finished 13th with a two-round score of 197 in the championship event at Emerald Valley Golf Club in Creswell on May 17, 2022.
The junior duo of Vassar and Nellie Wilkinson will provide the Riverhawks with the nucleus of a strong squad in the Class 4A Tri-Valley Conference. The Riverhawks’ team also includes senior Paige Compton, and sophomores Anna Schuemann and Madison Grant. Schuemann is a foreign exchange student from Germany.
“Katelyn’s goal is to make it to state again and place higher this year than she did last year,” said Timmons. “Nellie is focusing on making it to state, too, this year, which would be really awesome, and I think she’ll have a chance to do that. Anna has a field hockey background, so she knows how to swing something and she’s picking things up well. Maddy is also picking things up pretty fast, too. Either Maddy or Anna will be able to provide us with the fourth player for team scoring.”
Vassar, Wilkinson, and Compton were the only players on a shorthanded Riverhawk squad last year. Vassar shot 190 to take fifth place in the 5A district tournament at Heron Lakes Golf Course Portland last year to qualify for state. Wilkinson finished in 23rd place at district.
The Riverhawks started practice Feb. 27 at The Dalles Country Club’s nine-hole course in preparation for a 10-event schedule which begins with their season opener March 15 at Quail Valley Golf Course in Banks. The Dalles will host its first tournament March 28 in the Riverhawk Invitational at The Dalles Country Club. The 4A state tournament is May 15-16 at Trysting Tree Golf Club in Corvallis.
A key logistical change for the Riverhawks is that they won’t be playing in golf tournaments in Central Oregon this year like they did in 2022 when The Dalles was in the Class 5A Intermountain Conference. Other than one tournament in Pendleton April 4, all the other events will be in the Willamette Valley along with three tournaments in The Dalles.