Smithson picked to lead SHS golf program

For Garrett Smithson, assistant golf pro at The Cedars at Dungeness, this is familiar territory — only twice as much territory to cover.

Smithson, already the Sequim High girls golf head coach, was hired in January to take on this spring’s SHS boys team as well.

After enjoying a strong campaign in 2007 with the girls’ squad, Smithson was approached by Sequim High athletic director Chris Olson to succeed Bill Shea, the boys’ coach who has taken over at the golf course as director of golf.

“Bill is really busy and I have a little more time,” Smithson said. “I asked my wife, of course, (since) it’s going to be pretty time consuming.”

Smithson took over the girls team in 2007, replacing 12-year coaching vet Gary Francis. With a senior-laden girls squad, the Wolves went 6-0-1 in regular season match play, then dominated district play and qualified five golfers — Alex and Zoei Zbaraschuk, Stephanie Drabek, Phoebe Haglin and Elsey Perkins — for the class 2A state tournament last May. There, the Wolves finished ninth as a team and placed two golfers in the top 30.

Smithson was there at state, too, and the simple fact that Sequim had so much success may pose his biggest challenge of being a two-team coach.

“The challenge is being two places at once,” he said. “We had five girls scattered all over Semiahmoo (Golf Course) and there I am, scrambling around to be with all of them.”

Under Shea, last season’s Sequim boys golf squad finished 4-4 and put two golfers (Casey and Colby Rude) in the state final. In two years with Shea as head coach, the Wolves’ boys amassed an 11-7 record and saw three golfers qualify for the state tourney, with Casey Rude’s 26th place in 2007 as the top individual finisher.

“It was an extremely difficult decision (to step down),” Shea said, noting time constraints with work and family.

Shea said he gave Smithson a recommendation to take his old job.

“He’s great; he did a fantastic job last year,” Shea said. “Garrett is a great teacher and leader.”

Smithson said Sequim has a boys team loaded with good juniors and strong returning players like Haglin and Zoei Zbaraschuk for the girls.

“I’m very excited — I think both teams have tremendous upside,” Smithson said.

He said he’ll likely have an assistant but that the job isn’t filled yet.

Practices for both golf teams start Feb. 28.

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