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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2003 Express Publishing Inc.
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Wednesday, May 12, 2004


WRHS golfers at The Valley Club. From left, Chase Thomas, Erik Flolo, Travis Beckmann, coach Sandy Sanders, head coach John Braafladt, Britt VanPaepeghem, Lisa Feldhusen, Adrianna Maniere, Tate Mills, Scott Sanders, Alex Bliss, Hayley Stommel, Rachel Pace and Cooper McCroskey. Not shown because they were playing on the course were Jessie Thiede and Brady Bever. Express photo by David N. Seelig

Mills shoots 71 at Burley for district title

WRHS boys qualify for state golf

On fire with his putter, Wood River High School senior Tate Mills shot a one-under-par 71 Friday at Burley Municipal Golf Course and captured the Sawtooth Central Idaho Conference district title—the first-ever district honor for a Wolverine golfer.

Mills, playing steady golf from tee to green, had three birdies on the back nine and won individual medalist honors by three strokes over Declo’s Spencer Mendelhall. Five strokes behind Mills was defending State 3A champion Zach Abels of Kimberly, who battled illness in Friday’s meet.

Alex Bliss shot 83, Cooper McCroskey 84 and Scott Sanders 86 lifting coach John Braafladt’s Wolverines (324 points) into second place of six teams. It meant Wood River qualified for the state tourney as a full team for the first time in school annals.

The Declo Hornet boys won their first SCIC team title on their home course with an excellent 311. The top two teams qualified for state action.

Britt Van Paepeghem will join the Hailey boys at state because she qualified as an individual with a fourth-place score of 104 at Burley Friday.

The State 3A meet is Monday and Tuesday, May 17-18 at Stoneridge Golf Course in Priest River in northern Idaho. Mills will be among the favorites in Monday’s stroke play to determine individual state champions. On Tuesday, the team title is settled.

"Our team has done well this season and the support of The Valley Club has been extraordinary," said Mills. "We have high hopes for state and we’re excited to go. We’ll just play our game and see how it turns out."

Things turned out well for Mills, who played tennis for Wood River his freshman and sophomore years and changed to golf as a junior. He missed going to state by two strokes in 2003. Scott Sanders and Britt VanPaepeghem were Wood River’s first state qualifiers in 2003 as individuals.

"I practiced a lot and it paid off," said Mills, a key member of Wood River’s state champion soccer team. After graduation, he plans to travel next year and hopes to attend college in a Sun Belt state starting in 2005.

Braafladt said, "Some of the kids are really serious about their golf. For instance, Alex Bliss never missed a practice and made all his matches and went from shooting in the mid-90s to the low 80s. It has paid off. The pros at The Valley Club helped us with our full swings, and we spent a lot more time with our short game. That’s the easiest and fastest way to save strokes."

The Wood River boys finished the spring season winning three of their meets, and the Wolverine girls also made progress and posted their best SCIC finish of third place Friday.

Final SCIC district team scoresBoys: 1—Declo 311. 2—Wood River 324. 3—Kimberly 333. 4—Filer 339. 5—Buhl 345. 6—Gooding 395. Girls: 1—Declo 428. 2—Kimberly 455. 3—Wood River 470. 4—Gooding 485. 5—Buhl 499. 6—Filer 628 (top two to state, add scores of top four players).

Individual boys’ state qualifiers: 1—Tate Mills (WR) 71. 2—Spencer Mendenhall (D) 74. 3—Zach Abels (K) and Calvin Stone (D) 76. 5—Shawn Florke (K) 78. 6—Joe Popplewell (B) and Jared Koch (F) 79.

Other WR golfers: Alex Bliss 83, Cooper McCroskey 84, Scott Sanders 86 and Jesse Thiede.

Girls’ state qualifiers: 1—Ashley Smith and Beejae Dille (K) 98. 3—Sierra Fenstermaker (D) 100. 4 (tie)—Britt VanPaepeghem (WR), Jessica Brown and Alyssa Welch (B) 104.

Other WR golfers: Adrianna Maniere 114, Lisa Feldhusen 119, Rachel Pace and Hayley Stommel.


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