Eight days later, the Cougars were losing ground. The HDL’s member schools got down to business in a Week 2 tournament at WildCreek Golf Course Wednesday, but Spanish Springs found itself facing a bigger deficit in the second go-round. The Reno Huskies turned in a team score of 449 to top second-place Spanish Springs and its 461 by 12 strokes.
“I feel like our guys need to stay focused for an entire round,” SSHS golf coach Nick Wirshing said. “That’s kind of the way I felt last week too, but I do think it will come for our younger guys. A lot of times, I talked to them out on the course today and they seemed kind of dejected. They have to get used to putting a bad hole behind them and moving on. We say ‘every stroke counts.’ It’s a tough thing to stay mentally focused for five-plus hours, but we’re starting to learn what that’s all about.”
McQueen, North Valleys (524) and Reed (526) rounded up the third through fifth-place team slots.
Spanish Springs was paced by individual medalist winner Jordan Gilmore. The Cougars’ senior turned in a score of 71, 12 strokes better than the next best finisher. It was the second-straight tourney title for Gilmore, who also was the top finisher a week earlier at RedHawk after carding a 75.
SSHS sophomore Tommy McCallister posted a score of 86, good for fourth overall. Cole Shirley (99) and Matt Beebe (100) were next up on the Cougars’ scoring contingent. Competing schools use six players per tournament and count their top five scores toward a team total. Both Owen Bartlett and Matt Perera finished with 105s for Spanish Springs, leaving the local school to count one score and toss one.
“Jordan and Tommy are playing pretty well,” Wirshing said. “We’ve got to get some of those other guys playing better. There’s not much experience with those guys. I’m hoping that comes along later in the season. Our guys definitely have the potential to put good scores up.
“Jordan played really well. A 71 in those conditions today was a good score. We were happy with that, but our three, four, five, six guys struggled to put good holes together.”
Wirshing said the pace of play was agonizingly slow Wednesday. That coupled with cold, windy weather does not lead to low scores. Still, Wirshing pointed out that winter-like conditions in the spring in northern Nevada should come as no surprise to his players and they must overcome them if they want to overtake Reno and challenge for an HDL title.
“We saw early in the week, that today was going to be bad conditions and we tried to prepare for that,” Wirshing stressed. “We’ve actually had OK practice weather but our tournament dates have been less than perfect. You have to deal with that. A lot of the younger guys are used to playing in the summer when it is 80 degrees, but we’re not getting those conditions now. Spring in northern Nevada is going to bring challenging conditions and we have to get used to dealing with that.”
For Reed, the Raiders’ 526 team total was nearly identical to its mark in Week 1. The RHS club was one stroke higher in its second tournament action. The Reed total left it in fifth place just like last week. At the conclusion of league tournament play, only the top four teams advance to the Northern 4A Regional Championships.
Rookie Reed coach Nick Nemsgern said that has got to be the goal for his Raiders. He believes it’s definitely within his squad’s grasp.
“We’re real close,” Nemsgern said. “We’re on the doorstep … I don’t think third or fourth is out of our reach. I know our guys can play. The problem is we’ve got zero tournament experience. And when you’re out on that island, in the tournaments, we’ve struggled to produce our best golf.”
Trevor Wood was Reed’s best scoring individual as he wrapped up his day on the links with a 93. Dylan McKenzie also broke under the triple-digit mark, finishing with a 96. Garrett Marchese (110), Tony Simonte (112) and Dave Hibler (114) comprised the rest of Reed’s scoring group. The Raiders threw out their sixth score, the 123 of Will Rizzuto.
“I think we can get four or five guys under triple digits,” Nemsgern said. “Then we’ll post a score that’s respectable and obviously be in the mix to make regionals. We work on trying to put pressure on them in practice. Each week is a new challenge.”
The third HDL tournament will be played Tuesday at Somersett Golf and Country Club in northwest Reno. Tee times for the tourney begin at 1 p.m.