It's been so long since the last 6A boys golf tournament that the memory of Jesuit's dominance is fading.
The Crusaders won the last championships in 2017, 2018 and 2019, but if they are going to four-peat Monday and Tuesday in the OSAA/OnPoint Community Credit Union 6A tournament at Trysting Tree Golf Club, it will be with an entirely different lineup. None of them have ever played in a state tournament.
Coach Jay Minsker, who has led Jesuit to eight of its nine state championships, is downplaying expectations of another title.
“I expect us to be in the top five,” Minsker said. “They're not putting any undue pressure on themselves by thinking they've got to go down there and win, because they know they're not the best team. My biggest thing is, let's try to be in the final pairings. Let's try to be in the top four after Day 1.”
Clearly, the Crusaders' margin for error is much slimmer than when they won the state tournament by 23 strokes in 2017, 58 strokes in 2018 and 28 strokes in 2019.
Jesuit, which has dominated the Metro League for more than a decade, won only two of the seven league tournaments, finishing second four times. The Crusaders tied Sunset for first place in overall points in the Metro and earned the league's automatic state berth on a tiebreaker, edging the Apollos by one stroke in the season total.
“We just kind of limped in,” Minsker said.
Jesuit has come up short against top competition in invitationals.
In the Canby Invitational on March 14, the Crusaders shot 303 to finish behind Summit (287) and Sunset (291). They placed second to Summit by one stroke in the Summit Invitational on April 8. And in the State Preview at Trysting Tree on April 26, they shot 293 and lost to Lake Oswego (281), Tigard (287) and Summit (288).
Jesuit's best player is senior Miles Eastman, the No. 2 player in the Metro behind Westview sophomore Andrew Yang. Eastman, who played in the U.S. Junior Amateur last summer, gets a crack at his first state tournament before heading off to a college career at Occidental College in Los Angeles.
“This is his one shot,” Minsker said. “When he was a freshman, he was just a little, skinny kid. Now he's big. He works out all the time. He treats his body really well. He's going to be a good college player. We're going to miss him. He's been a really good influence on these kids.”
Freshman Jack Harrington and sophomore Mason Zimmerman are the team's No. 2 and No. 3 players, respectively. Harrington is the nephew of Scott Harrington, who played for Jesuit on Minsker's first title team in 1998.
“He's going to be the leader of the team as a sophomore next year,” Minsker said. “He takes charge and he leads by example. He's probably 115 pounds, but he hits it about 240 yards off the tee dead straight all the time. He's got a great short game.”
Senior Ethan Krauss and freshman Joseph Ulrich also are capable scorers for the Crusaders, who have scored between 293 and 308 all season.
“The kids have played consistent all year,” Minsker said. “The nice thing is you've got two days and anything can happen.”
A look at the state championships, Monday and Tuesday:
6A, Trysting Tree Golf Club, Corvallis
Individual district champions: Tanner Overby, Lincoln, soph; Andrew Yang, Westview, soph.; Ka'ena Kaulia, Forest Grove, jr.; Gavin Swartley, Central Catholic, sr.; Max Niemi, Tigard, sr., and Jennings Oelke, Tigard, fr.; Sam Renner, Summit, sr.; Oliver Ausland, Grants Pass, jr.
Team district champions: Lincoln, Jesuit, Newberg, Central Catholic, Tigard, Summit, Grants Pass
2019 state tournament: Jesuit 572, Mountainside 600, Summit 614, Central Catholic 620
Notes: Lake Oswego won the 6A/5A State Preview at Trysting Tree on April 26, shooting 281 to defeat Tigard (287), Summit (288), Jesuit (293) and Grants Pass (293). Lakers sophomore Alex Wrenn was the medalist, at 5-under 66, beating Jesuit senior Miles Eastman (68) and Tigard junior Douglas Bailey (69). … Summit, which won the 5A title in 2015, 2016 and 2017, moves back to 6A next year. The Storm has three college-bound seniors in Renner (Washington State), Lucas Hughes (Grand Canyon) and Ethan Jaehn (Central Michigan). … McNary junior Colby Sullivan was Virginia's 1A player of the year as a freshman.
5A, Trysting Tree Golf Club, Corvallis
Individual district champions: William Koch, La Salle Prep, jr.; Ben Idiart, Crater, sr.; Cole Rueck, Corvallis, sr.; Palmer Smith, Crook County, jr.
Team district champions: La Salle Prep, Crater, Corvallis, Crook County
2019 state tournament: Crescent Valley 609, Ridgeview 644, West Albany 651, Corvallis 664
Notes: Thurston senior Kellen Humphries won the season-ending 5A tournament at Pine Ridge in Springfield last year, beating Rueck and Koch by two shots. West Albany outscored runner-up Corvallis 346-361 to win the tournament. … Rueck, the son of Oregon State women's basketball coach Scott Rueck, has signed with Boise State. .. Crater's Idiart and his junior brother, Marcus, were the top two finishers in the Midwestern League district tournament at Tokatee Golf Club, shooting 151 and 153.
4A, Quail Valley Golf Course, Banks
Individual district champions: Elliott Lee, Tillamook, jr.; Ben Proulx, Marist Catholic, sr.; Ryan Klampe, Siuslaw, fr.; Jaxon Logsdon, Baker, fr.
Team district champions: Banks, Marist Catholic, North Valley, Baker
2019 state tournament: Marist Catholic 627, Seaside 659, Valley Catholic 707, Woodburn 711
Notes: Lee was runner-up in the 4A Showcase last year, losing in a playoff to Woodburn's Cole Beyer, who has graduated. Seaside senior Carson Kawasoe finished fourth. … Marist Catholic, which won state titles in 5A in 2018 and 4A in 2019, won the 4A Showcase last year, finishing ahead of Woodburn, Banks and Valley Catholic. … Banks senior Aaron Brown was the medalist in the 4A/3A/2A/1A State Preview at Quail Valley on April 27. Banks finished second to 3A Oregon Episcopal by 31 strokes, but beat Marist Catholic by three and Valley Catholic by six.
3A/2A/1A, Quail Valley Golf Course, Banks
Individual district champions: Ethan Tseng, Oregon Episcopal, sr.; Blake Knurowski, East Linn Christian, fr.; Dylan Jennings, Enterprise, sr.; Peyton Simonds, Bandon, fr.
Team district champions: Oregon Episcopal, Regis, Grant Union, St. Mary's
2019 state tournament: Oregon Episcopal 664, Bandon 730, Heppner/Ione 742, La Pine 746
Notes: Oregon Episcopal, runner-up in 2017 and 2018, won its first title in 2019. The Aardvarks won the 4A/3A/2A/1A State Preview by 31 strokes over 4A Banks at Quail Valley on April 27. Sophomore Alex Tseng and senior Ethan Tseng were second and third, respectively, behind Banks' Aaron Brown. … Ethan Tseng, a member of Jesuit's 6A title team in 2019, has signed with Northwestern. He shot an 11-under 62 at Glendoveer this season. … St. Mary's junior Brock Drury shot an 8-under 63 at Bandon Trails on April 7.
6A, Emerald Valley Golf and Resort, Creswell
Individual district champions: Kyra Ly, Cleveland, sr.; Sofia Fuenmayor, Mountainside, sr.; Audrey Bonn, Sherwood, sr.; Emily Lackershire, Nelson, sr.; Maya Promwongsa, Tualatin, soph.; Makai Kalberg, Bend, soph.; Corinne Lilywhite, Sheldon, sr.
Team district champions: Wells, Jesuit, Sherwood, Nelson, Lake Oswego, Summit, Grants Pass
2019 state tournament: Jesuit 616, Westview 624, West Linn 653, Clackamas 659
Notes: Ly shot a 2-under 70 to win the 6A/5A State Preview tournament at Emerald Valley on April 28. Lilywhite and Sunset freshman Erika Kobayashi tied for second place at 72 and Mountainside senior Emily Song was next at 73. … Ly, an Oregon State signee, shot 66, 66, 66 and 67 in four Portland Interscholastic League matches. She is bidding to become Cleveland's first champion. … Mountainside was the top Oregon team at the State Preview, shooting 327 to beat Metro League rivals Jesuit (330), Westview (344) and Sunset (346). … Mountainside has two Weber State commits in Song and Fuenmayor, who placed 10th and 12th, respectively, as freshmen at state in 2019. Last year, they led the Mavericks to a 33-stroke win over runners-up Jesuit and Clackamas in an eight-team 6A season-ending tournament at the OGA Golf Course. Fuenmayor shot a 68 to take medalist honors. … Jesuit won the last two state titles in 2018 and 2019.
5A, Emerald Valley Golf and Resort, Creswell
Individual district champions: Francesca Tomp, North Eugene, fr.; Mercedes Marriott, Crescent Valley, jr.; Elizabeth Richardson, Redmond, jr.
Team district champions: Crater, Silverton, Wilsonville
2019 state tournament: Pendleton 767, Crater 776, West Albany 803, Ridgeview 823
Notes: Marriott, a former gymnast in her second season of competitive golf, is the player to beat. Last year, she won the season-ending 5A tournament by seven strokes at Pine Ridge in Springfield. She shot a 64 in a practice round at Trysting Tree in March. … Crook County sophomore Merritt O'Gorman and Redmond's Richardson finished second and third, respectively, in the 5A tournament last year. Redmond outscored Silverton 393-422 for first place. … Tomp shot 74 at Emerald Valley to tie as the No. 5 Oregon finisher in the 6A/5A State Preview at Emerald Valley last month, behind four 6A players.
4A/3A/2A/1A, Eagle Crest Resort, Ridge Course, Redmond
Individual district champions: Ava Austria, Catlin Gabel, soph.; Hilaria Trevino, Woodburn, sr.; Sandhya Vaikuntam, Marist Catholic, sr.; Tora Timinsky, Dufur, jr.
Team district champions: Valley Catholic, St. Mary's, La Grande
2019 state tournament: St. Mary's 638, Valley Catholic 705, Heppner/Ione 741, Woodburn 787
Notes: St. Mary's of Medford has won the last four state championships by an average of 65.0 strokes. Senior Riley Hammericksen – the sister of Baylee Hammericksen, a 2021 graduate who won the individual title in 2018 and 2019 – leads the Crusaders this season with an average of 75. She finished third at state as a freshman in 2019. … Vaikuntam beat Hammericksen by four strokes to win the Special District 3 tournament at Bandon Crossings. … Valley Catholic junior Challin Kim won the 4A Showcase last year at Trysting Tree. She shot a 73 to edge Vaikuntam by one stroke. … Marist Catholic won last year's 4A Showcase by eight strokes over Valley Catholic.