Whittell claims first state golf title
They did it!
With beautiful Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course providing the backdrop, the Whittell High golf team brought home its first-ever Nevada 2A State title Friday.
“It’s undescribable,” said junior Ryan Salomon, who took home the individual championship with a two-day combined score of 153. “I really can’t put this into words; it’s a great day.”
Posting a 402 at Genoa Lakes on Thursday, and ending Friday’s round with a 401, Whittell won the championship in landslide fashion with an overall score of 803. The Meadows was 50 strokes back with a combined two-day team score of 853. Two-time defending champion Needles was third at 865. Rounding out the six-team field were Faith Lutheran 891, Incline 896 and West Wendover 919.
With his players enjoying their title and trophy, Warrior coach Steve Maltase reflected on the championship run.
“I am more proud of these guys than words can say. The team set a goal at the beginning of the season to win state, which is not an easy thing to do,” Maltase said. “The whole team stepped up all-year long and we did it. It’s unbelievable.”
Coming into Friday’s final round the Warriors led the six-team field by 21 strokes.
With that in the back of their minds, they set out to do what no other Whittell team had done before them.
Sophomore Brian Jones got out of the gate first and with the help of a couple birdies, shot a respectable 83 on the day and 172 for the tournament.
“Overall, I think I really played well today,” said Jones as he walked off the 18th green. “I had a bit of trouble on No. 18 when I went into the water, but other than that I had a lot of fun out there.”
Carey White followed Jones out and, although he struggled at times on the front nine, he shot an outstanding 38 on the back, including a 20-foot birdie put on No. 15.
“I shot a 45 on the front nine,” White said. “I knew I needed a strong finish, and I got it.”
Parker Fox got out of the box next and shot a 5-over-par 41 on the front nine. As Fox was close to the turn, he got some added motivation from teammate Patrick Flanagan, who was in the group behind him.
“Flanagan told me he wasn’t doing so good and to get it going,” Fox said of the exchange. “So I stepped it up on the back nine.”
While Fox and Flanagan ended their rounds with 81 and 87, respectively, the big story of the day was in the last group out.
Senior Keith Truswell and junior Ryan Salomon were not only anchoring their teams chances of winning a state championship, they were in a heated battle for the individual title as well.
“This is exactly what they wanted,” said Weston Salomon, spectator and twin brother of Ryan.
Both entering Friday’s final day deadlocked at 77, the two teammates played solid golf on the front nine, and as they took the turn, only one stroke separated the two.
The back nine saw some spectacular golf shots. Truswell birdied No. 15 on a chip and run from 15 feet out and Salomon’s clutch par putt on No. 14 ran in from 30 feet.
As the duo came down the stretch Truswell’s two-stroke deficit was all that separated the two teammates in the end.
Truswell ended his successful Whittell career with a solid 1-over par 37 on the back nine, giving him a total of 78 for the day and a 155 for the tournament.
Salomon’s even-par 36 on the back nine brought him to 76 on the day and a 153 for the tournament, thus sealing the individual honors for him.
“It’s crazy,” Salomon said after receiving his award. “I haven’t won a tournament all year and then I go back-to-back at zone and state.”
While the sun set on Lake Tahoe and their title-winning season, the Whittell golfers had one last order of business to take care of.
In an act reminiscent of the traditional Gatorade showers accustomed with football, Ryan Salomon and teammates wrestled their coach into icy Lake Tahoe for a victory bath. And while the Warriors were shivering cold on their way out, the smiles on their face told a different story.
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