STATE GOLF: Kentwood boys capture second place

The Kentwood High boys golf team has been on the rise for several years now.

The Conks anticipated finally reaching the top last week during the Class 4A state golf tournament at the par-72 Canyon Lakes Golf Course in Kennewick.

Despite a pair of strong performances from juniors Tom Zavada and Kent Hagen, the Conquerors fell just shy of their goal … and eventual champion Snohomish. Kentwood brought home a solid second-place trophy, amassing a two-day total of 67 points, which proved to be well behind Snohomish at 90. Walla Walla, with 47 points, finished a distant third to the Conquerors followed by fourth-place Skyview at 43.5.

“The goal for this team was to win it,” said Zavada, who finished in seventh place with a two-day total of 146. “We definitely thought we had a chance to do it. It was an improvement from last year, but it was kind of disappointing because we were so close.”

Snohomish sealed the title with a pair of impressive performances from Michael Jaeger and Dylan Stensland, who finished tied for second place and just three strokes ahead of Zavada. Eastlake’s Kevin Penner walked away with the individual title, carding a two-day total of 143. Penner knocked off Stensland and Jaeger on a playoff.

The second-place team finish is the best for the Kentwood boys since 1994, which was the last time the Conquerors took second at the state tournament. Kentwood has never won a boys team title on the golf course. However, the Conquerors have finished among the state’s top five six times in the last 16 years.

“I’m hoping we can improve and win it next year,” said Zavada, who collected three birdies, five bogies and 28 pars during the two-day tournament. “That would be awesome.”

Of course, Zavada showed plenty of improvement during the two-day tournament. His seventh-place finish is up four spots from last year, when Zavada finished in 11th. Teammate Hagen wasn’t far behind, either. Hagen, who also played for Kentwood’s state baseball team this spring, finished in 38th place a year ago and tied for eighth this time around. Hagen carded a two-day total of 149.

Zavada and Hagen were the only Kentwood golfers to finish among the top 10. Teammate Tyler Clavin finished in 43rd with a two-day total of 160.

Kentridge’s Sean McMullen was the only other local golfer in action. McMullen carded a two-day total of 152 to finish in 16th place. The Kentridge standout brought home sixth place last year.