Whittell wins record 7th state golf championship
ZEPHYR COVE, Nev. — It’s hard to call Whittell an underdog on the golf course, but that was the case earlier this week.
The Warriors have a proud tradition under head coach Steve Maltase. His teams have qualified for the state tournament in all 20 years he’s been in charge and have won six championships.
So when the Warriors show up to the golf course, it’s like the New England Patriots coming out of the tunnel: Other teams know they’ve got their hands full.
But the Warriors didn’t show that well the week before at the Northern Nevada regional tournament, finishing third well behind North Tahoe and Incline, but did enough to qualify for state.
The Warriors saved their best for the biggest stage.
Patrick Smorra vied for the individual title and led Whittell to a surprising seventh championship Monday and Tuesday, May 13-14, in the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association Class 2A State Golf Championship tournament at Toana Vista Golf Course in West Wendover.
Whittell shot a two-day score of 745 to beat The Meadows School by 10 strokes and claim a record seventh title for class 2A and second most among all divisions.
“We had a really good first day and held onto it,” Maltase said. “We played pretty well and a few other teams probably didn’t play as well as they hoped. We go into this tournament most of the time as favorites, but this year was different.”
Smorra was right in the mix near the top after his first round score of 83 from the white tees on the par-72 course.
He led three other teammates in posting sub-100 scores including Zack Johns (91), Trent Dingman (95) and Zach Kerho (95) in the first round on the way to opening an 11-shot lead over The Meadows, who also has won seven state crowns.
Maltase was proud of his team for having players step up like Kerho who posted a career-best in the first round.
The Warriors led The Meadows 364-375 after the first day.
Maltase said he was probably way more nervous than his kids on Day 2.
“I was kind of stressed all day,” Maltase said. “I’m sure I was a lot more nervous than they were.”
But his Warriors kept The Meadows at a distance.
Smorra was still battling for the individual title through the first nine but stumbled slightly coming down the stretch and ended up placing fourth with a two-day total of 170.
Marcus Dolinar, of Lake Mead, recorded the best score, a 156 and North Tahoe’s Murphy Scott shot a 162.
Also scoring for the Warriors in the second round were Johns (97), who was the team’s top player over the course of the season, Dingman (97) and Jack Forvilly (100).
“The kids played steady and stayed within themselves and it worked out,” Maltase said. “They all picked each other up and were the most excited I have ever seen them. I am super proud.”
Incline was missing its top scorer, Satchel Hirsch, who had final exams he couldn’t miss.
So the Highlanders went into battle and other players stepped up to help them finish with a total score of 763, led by Matt Poalillo’s two-day total of 187.
Also for Incline, Cooper Lyons shot a 188, Zach Pexa fired a 191, including shaving off 17 strokes from his first day score, Paul Larsen had a 197 and Johnny Redfern a 218, and he cut 16 strokes off his Day 1 score.
“It was a tough course,” said Incline head coach Rick Espinosa. “It was great to see most of our players improves their scores in the second round.”