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THE BEST: The La Grande team pauses after winning its second 4A state golf title in a row Tuesday in Banks. From left to right are Jacob Girard, Nathan Ladendorff, Joel Wylam, Mavric Goss, Daniel Seymour, and Ron Evans (coach).
La Grande pulls away from North Valley to claim second straight 4A state golf crown
BANKS — The Tigers have done it again.
For the second straight year, the La Grande boys golf team has finished the season as the best 4A team in Oregon.
The Tigers won the OSAA/U.S. Bank/Les Schwab Tires state championship Tuesday at Quail Valley Golf Course, finishing with a two-day total of 637.
North Valley, who was tied with LHS after Monday's opening round, finished second with a 650. La Salle Prep (660), North Bend (675) and Scappoose (698) rounded out the top five.
Both the Tigers and Knights shot a 325 on Monday.
But La Grande was able to go for a season-low 312 on Tuesday, while North Valley shot another 325 to give LHS a comfortable victory.
“What a way to send the seniors off, it’s just wonderful,” coach Ron Evans said.
Mavric Goss finished fifth individually. The senior carded a 5-over 77 on the final day, two strokes better than his opening-round 79.
Goss birdied the Par-4 second hole Tuesday and went on to go out in 38. He managed another birdie at the 15th hole to come in with a 39.
“I’m so happy for Mavric,” Evans said. “He played well, but really grinded. He stayed close to (Ryan) Melnychuk and that’s what he needed to do.”
Nathan Ladendorf shot back-to-back 80s to finish in 11th place for LHS. Ladendorf birdied the Par-5 10th hole on both days.
Jake Girard tied for 16th after finishing with a two-day total of 165. The sophomore shaved nine strokes off his Monday score to shoot a 78 Tuesday.
He birdied the eighth and ninth holes to go out in 38 before coming in with a 40.
Daniel Seymour and Joel Wylam both tied for 18th with a total of 166.
Wylam bounced back from an opening-day 89 to shoot a 77 on Tuesday. He birdied three holes on the back nine to come in in 35.
“I told Joel on our way to the course that he was going to have a good day, and he got down to business,” Evans said.
Seymour carded an 87 on the final day, but his opening-round 79 put the Tigers in the position they needed to be in on Tuesday.
“All of the kids contributed to this, which is awesome,” Evans said.
Tigers in control
Last year, the tournament came down to the final hole, with Goss' birdie at 18 lifting La Grande to victory.
But the feeling was a little more at ease this year, as the Tigers were well in control of the tournament.
North Valley's Ryan Melnychuk won the individual title with a total of 140.
Melnychuk carded a 73 Tuesday after going for a 67 on Day 1.
But other than teammate Dylan Vandehey's 159, which tied him for ninth, no other Knight finished within the top 26.
“I was a little worried about La Salle Prep, and I thought North Bend would make a charge. But I knew North Valley’s fourth and fifth man were falling off,” Evans said.
La Grande has been one of the most complete teams in the state all year long, and the Tigers showed their consistency on the biggest stage of the season.
“I’m so proud with the way they stayed calm. This was such a team effort. The kids are close, they’re friends with each other and they always picked each other up. They will have a lot of memories from this.”
Goss, Ladendorf and Wylam are all seniors, but with Girard and Seymour expected to be back next season, LHS will have yet another shot to win a state title.