For the first time in school history, the Puyallup Vikings boys golf team was crowned the Class 4A state champion.
The Vikings earned first place with 112 team points at the Class 4A state tournament on May 29 at Camas Meadows Golf Club in Camas. Bellarmine Prep, which finished in second place, tallied a mere 76 points. The sizable margin of victory was due to the prowess of Vikings’ golfers Mitchell Baldridge, Tanner Kovacevich, Chase Carlson and Connor Mildenberger. Baldridge finished tied for second place individually, compiling 146 strokes in the two-day tourney. Kovacevich and Carlson tied for fifth place with a total of 147 strokes in the tourney. Puyallup head coach Glenn Halverson said his team stuck to the game plan of being aggressive on a difficult course that presented a myriad of challenges.
“At least two-thirds of the holes have some type of water hazard and marshes,” Halverson said. “There were some very big oak trees and narrow driving slots. We had a plan of being conservatively aggressive.”
Halverson said Baldridge started off slow but rebounded down the stretch to shoot one-over par on both days.
“He just kept getting better and better,” the coach said. “He grinded out a couple of tough birdies. Mitchell is the kind of golfer who does a little bit of everything. He was our team captain this year and has improved his game significantly since his freshman year. He is such a competitor. His best golf is still yet to come.”
Halverson said Kovacevich and Carlson are different kind of players but they both are adept at getting the job done.
“Tanner (Kovacevich) and Chase (Carlson) tied for fifth place and both came through for us,” he said. “Tanner is a grinder and goes out and does what he needs to do. He is a no nonsense kind of guy and is a great athlete. Chase is probably the best putter on the team. He believes he is going to make every single putt. He isn’t cocky, but is extremely confident. He had four birdies on the final day and just was solid all around.”
Connor Mildenberger missed the cut on the first day of the tourney, but Halverson said he was still a vital part of the team’s effort in Camas.
“This is the first state title for the Puyallup boys golf program, and is really special,” Halverson said. “These four guys came down here not as individuals but as a team. They wanted to win this team title. They worked hard all spring and even practiced together on their own on the weekends and had such great chemistry. I feel blessed to have such a good group of kids. They put in the work and now they have title. It was a great experience they will never forget.”