This fall brought something special to the world of Plateau high school golf. On both sides of the river, teams routinely crushed opponents as they went undefeated in league play.
Through matches of last week, the four local prep programs – boys and girls teams at both Enumclaw and White River high schools – boasted a combined league record of 48-0 and an overall mark of 48-1.
Contributing to that stellar mark, the Enumclaw High boys cruised to a 10-0 league record while the EHS girls won all 10 of their matches for the second season in a row. The only loss to be found came the afternoon of Oct. 10 when the EHS boys dropped a close match to Tahoma; the Bears took a 100-95 victory to remain undefeated. In Buckley, the boys’ team finished the regular season 14-0 while White River’s girls did the same.
Success is nothing new for the Plateau’s high school golfers. A season ago, all four programs had representatives at their respective state tournaments – staged in the spring – and a healthy sampling of state veterans are competing again this season. Topping the state list were the White River girls, who placed third in the 2A tournament; the Enumclaw boys were eighth in the Class 4A ranks.
Plenty of familiar names dot this year’s lineups, as the girls’ team from White River includes state veterans Brooke Gelinas, Brooke Mahler and Emma McGregor. Returning state vets for the boys’ squad are Lane Maras, AJ Mills and Tanner Penrose.
Leading this year’s Enumclaw High girls’ program is state veteran Emma Murphy, while players like Maya Rismiller and Danyel Korpe have plenty of varsity experience. The Enumclaw boys are well stocked with both experience and talent in the form of Ty Albrecht, Jaeger Christian, Cameron Serba, Wyatt Bort and Tristan Nichols.
While all those are proven veterans, the biggest factor in the local success is a varsity newcomer. Zach Miller made a name for himself in junior tournament play and now, as a White River freshman, was eligible for high school competition.
Steve Murphy, who coaches the Enumclaw girls’ team, touted his squad’s veteran leadership as a key factor in this season’s success.
“We felt very confident coming into this season,” Murphy said, “as we had a tremendous group of six seniors to lead us. They are all both talented players and outstanding leaders.”
With that, he said, comes the team’s greatest strength: camaraderie. “These girls enjoy one another and this shows in our performance on the golf course.”
The squad set four team records this season for “low five” scores and, individually, Murphy took medalist honors in seven of the 10 league matches.
Across the river, coach Terry Vallala admitted that earning another league title might be considered a “pleasant surprise.” His White River boys’ team might have taken a step back, having lost the No. 1 player two years in a row (Cooper Franklin in 2017 and Joe Flanigan last season).
But Miller answered the bell and earned medalist honors every time out. “That is extremely hard to do each and every match,” Vallala said.
Perhaps his most improved player, the coach said, is Penrose. He sliced approximately six strokes from his nine-hole average of a year ago. With his top five spots secured, Vallala had a trio of players rotating through the No. 6 slot in varsity play; all three earned a berth in this week’s medalist tournament.
Anna Rose, coach for the White River girls, said the team’s success stems from the support it receives. She praised the staff at Enumclaw Golf Course along with high school staff and team parents. Of course, it all comes down to performance and Rose said her girls are “very dedicated and put in a lot of time practicing.”
With the regular season wrapped up, the Enumclaw High programs – both boys and girls – competed earlier this week in the North Puget Sound League championships. The Monday-Tuesday event was staged at the Gold Mountain complex in Bremerton. The White River teams are competing in the South Puget Sound League 2A Medalist Tournament at Eagles Pride Golf Course; play began yesterday and finishes today (Wednesday).