Sequim’s Ben Sweet looks to sink a putt on the first hole at The Cedars at Dungeness in 2019. The returning sophomore earned a top-20 finish at the state 2A tourney as a freshman. Sequim Gazette file photo by Michael Dashiell

Sequim’s Ben Sweet looks to sink a putt on the first hole at The Cedars at Dungeness in 2019. The returning sophomore earned a top-20 finish at the state 2A tourney as a freshman. Sequim Gazette file photo by Michael Dashiell

Spring sports preview: Wolves set to dominate once again on links

Editor’s note: After a handful of practices, Sequim High School’s spring sports seasons were cancelled before any officials games were played following statewide shutdown of schools and all extra-curricular activities in April. These previews were written just prior to those seasons were slated to begin. — MD

Spring sports preview: SHS boys golf

2019 finish: 9-0 (Olympic League champions); four players to state; second place at state 2A tournament

Head coach: Garrett Smithson (11th year)

Returning players: Ben Sweet (so.), Garrett Hoesel (jr.), Dominic Riccobene (so.), Joe Grasser (jr.), Andrew Van Der Berg (sr.)

Newcomers: Dillon Nucci (jr.), Oscar Walchenbach (jr.), Lincoln Sparks (fr.), Dylan McKeown (fr.), Nils Suchy (jr.), Cole Smithson (fr.), Blake Anzures (so.), Sam King (fr.), Garrett Barr (fr.)

Key league competition: Klahowya, Olympic, Port Angeles

Spring sports preview — SHS girls golf

2019 finish: 7-2 (third in Olympic League); two players to state

Head coach: Tim Lusk (first year)

Returning players: Jessica German (jr.), JoNell Hill (jr.), Eliza Brown (so.), Abbee Jagger (sr.), Delaney Nucci (jr.), Sydnee Price (so.), Juliana Tamblyn (so.)

Newcomers: Hannah Hampton (so.), Jelissa Julmist (fr.), Ellenor Magelsson (sr.), Hannah Wagner (so.), Isabella Williams (fr.), Ava Bower (fr.)

Key league competition: Klahowya, Olympic, North Mason

It speaks to a program’s dept that it can lose the past three league MVPs and its head coach and still be expect to stand atop the league standings.

But that seems the case for Sequim High’s boys golf program coming off back-to-back second place finishes at the state 2A tournament.

Stepping in for SHS boys head coach Bill Shea — who led the Wolves to four consecutive unbeaten seasons and a still-current 42-match Olympic League winning streaks — is Garrett Smithson, longtime SHS girls head coach.

Smithson and the Sequim squad has lost 2018 league MVP Paul Jacobsen, who moved out of district, and 2017 MVP Blake Wiker to graduation — the pair shared the 2019 league MVP — but gets back plenty of firepower.

Former state tourney competitor Andrew Vanderberg is back in the fold after not playing in 2019, along with young stars Dominic Riccobene, Ben Sweet and Garrett Hoesel.

Sweet was an all-league first team player who finished in the top 20 at state last spring while Hoesel and Riccobene were all-league second team players.

“The boys are still really solid; I feel like we have four of the top eight players in the Olympic League,” Smithson said.

For his part, Sweet — a sophomore — said he is looking forward to the 2020 spring season.

“One of my weak points last season is I’d get frustrated,” Sweet said. “I’ll take a more positive approach.”

Sweet said his father Tyler, now head pro at the Port Ludlow Golf Club and former Sunland Golf & Country Club head pro, helped pass along a good mental approach to the game.

Backing up Sweet and company are returner Joe Grasser and newcomer Lincoln Sparks, a freshman. In all, 14 youths came out for the boys team.

Smithson, the PGA professional at Sequim’s home course of The Cedars at Dungeness, said the team will have enough for a junior varsity team whereas some schools won’t have enough for a complete varsity squad.

“I know all the kids since junior camps (at The Cedars at Dungeness),” he said. “I’d be really surprised if we lost a match this season.”

Girls reload under new coach

Another “new” leader with a familiar name, first-year head coach Tim Lusk makes the shift from the softball diamond to the golf links.

Lusk was an assistant fastpitch coach for two years before leading the Wolves from 2017-2019. He stepped down from the fastpitch position before learning of an opening in SHS’s golf program.

A golfer since the age of 7 or 8, Lusk played high school golf for four years and kept up with the game, coaching a bit as an assistant in Port Angeles prior to taking the role in Sequim.

Coaching on the links should prove to be a bit easier than managing a fastpitch team, Lusk said.

“It’s an individual sport; we can work on fundamentals (one-on-one),” he said. “You’re competing against the course.”

The Wolves lose a trio of veteran players to graduation, including Madison Uranga, state alternate Yana Hoesel and state qualifier Brittany Gale.

But Sequim has a slew of strong returning players including sophomores Eliza Brown and Juliana Tamblyn, juniors JoNell Hill and Jessica German, and senior Abbee Jagger.

Jessica German looks to help bolster a deep Sequim High girls golf squad in 2020. Sequim Gazette file photo by Michael Dashiell

Jessica German looks to help bolster a deep Sequim High girls golf squad in 2020. Sequim Gazette file photo by Michael Dashiell

Newcomers Jelissa Julmist and Hannah Wagner bolster an already strong lineup, Lusk said.

While there is some inexperience — five of the 14 Wolves out for girls golf are new to the sport — Lusk said he’s optimistic that with just two seniors this Sequim team can compete for years to come.

“I’m looking forward to the next three or four years,” Lusk said.

SHS boys golf — 2020 season schedule

Date Opponent Time

March 12 Olympic 3 p.m.

March 16 Crosspoint 3 p.m.

March 19 at Bremerton 3 p.m.

March 24 at Kingston 3 p.m.

March 26 Port Angeles 3 p.m.

April 9 Klahowya 3 p.m.

April 14 at Chimacum, PT 3 p.m.

April 21 North Mason 3 p.m.

April 30 North Kitsap 3 p.m.

May 4 Olympic League tourney 1 p.m.

May 20 West Central District III tourney 3 p.m.

SHS girls golf — 2020 season schedule

Date Opponent Time

March 13 Olympic 3 p.m.

March 16 Crosspoint 3 p.m.

March 19 at Bremerton 3 p.m.

March 24 at Kingston 3 p.m.

March 26 Port Angeles 3 p.m.

April 9 Klahowya 3 p.m.

April 23 North Mason 3 p.m.

April 28 North Kitsap 3 p.m.

May 4 Olympic League tourney 1 p.m.

May 20 West Central District III tourney 3 p.m.

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Mike McFarlen, pictured here in the spring of 2014, returns to lead the Sequim High fastpitch program after a three-season absence. He led the Wolves from 2012-2016. Sequim Gazette file photo by Michael Dashiell
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