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Junior Andrew Reinhardt takes medalist honors, Crusaders cruise to another crown

COURTESY PHOTO: JESUIT HIGH SCHOOL - The Jesuit boys golf team won its third straight Class 6A state championship this week.

The same way iron sharpens iron, success breeds success.

The premiere golfers in the state want to play with and against players of their ilk, competitors who will push them to get better day in and day out. They'll join forces with like-minded linksmen knowing winning, improving and competing will come. This is why, for all the false scuttlebutt about Jesuit recruiting kids, the Crusaders continue to achieve the greatest of heights.

With junior Andrew Reinhardt rolling to first place and the four Crusaders behind him dropping ridiculous scores, Jesuit's turned its two-peat into a dynasty, winning its third straight Class 6A state championship on May 14 at Trysting Tree Golf Club in Corvallis.

"I'm very fortunate these kids choose to come to Jesuit, it's just awesome to see them be so thrilled for one another," Jesuit head coach Jay Minsker said. "They root for one another and the camaraderie is just great to see. They're great kids. They get along. They work well together. They take it seriously and play a lot of golf and compete against each other in the summertime. I couldn't ask for a better group of kids and parents. I couldn't be more proud."

Jesuit again ruled the 6A level with an iron fist, shooting a ridiculous 572 over two days, beating Mountainside by 28 strokes. Four Crusaders finished in top nine overall: Reinhardt, freshman Ethan Tseng who took third, sixth place finisher Brody Marconi and junior Johnny Ward who tied for ninth. And Owen Mackin tied for 11th, meaning the Crusaders crammed the top of the leaderboard at Trysting Tree with green and gold.

"We're always pushing each other to become the best, every day at every practice to become better," Reinhardt said. "At state, we showed how much work we put into it and were able to win it as a team."

Reinhardt shot a 68 in the final round and a 71 on day one for a two day total of 139 to take medalist honors. On a team stacked with stars, all of whom are capable of winning a state title themselves, against a field full of Division One talent such as Mountainside's Mateo Fuenmayor, a 6A individual title is quite the feat. Reinhardt was tied for the lead after day one last year and finished tied for second. Knowing he could've played better and that Trysting Tree suites his game, the junior said a state title was on his firmly coming into this spring. Reinhardt, remarkably, is Jesuit's first solo state champion since 2008 when Jeff Petroff won at Trysting Tree.

"It couldn't have happened to a better kid," Minsker said. "He's a hard worker who puts his head down, goes out there and does what he needs to do. He never questions anything. If he didn't qualify last year (in team matches) he'd grind it out. He learned a lot and today it paid off for him."COURTESY PHOTO: JESUIT HIGH SCHOOL - Jesuit junior Andrew Reinhardt won the Class 6A state championship this week.

The highlight of Reinhardt's final round came on the 17th hole when he buried a 37-foot birdie putt, to go three-under par. The money shot was rolled into the wind, from the upper ridge of the green and finished with a bottom of the cup thud. Unbeknownst to Reinhardt, the Jesuit junior was tied for the lead going into 17, but the putt gave enough cushion to put away reigning champion Nate Stember of Lincoln.

"In my mind, I just didn't want to leave the putt short, I wanted to make sure it got to the hole and had a chance of going in," Reinhardt said. "I was able to put the right speed on it with the right line and made it. I knew I was playing well and had a shot."

Athletically these guys don't dedicate themselves to anything other than golf. They play year-round, training with SKOUT in Beaverton or the Golf Farm in Tualatin, developing into the sort of high caliber players capable of competing for the biggest rewards. But they're also smart enough academically to get into Jesuit, which is a tall task. There are good players at each of the Beaverton-area public schools and more cropping up at the 6A level in Bend, but Jesuit's depth is unmatched. There were matches where the Crusaders' fourth and fifth player scored better than the first and second. No matter who won the team qualifying matches throughout the regular season, it felt like any of the six players could drop below par.

"I tell kids when they come out in the spring, 'Looking around this room, you're playing against the best players in the state right here,'" Minsker said. "When (Reinhardt) beats (Ward) for a spot, I tell him to shake his hand because the next week it might be the other way around. That's where we're fortunate, having that depth."

Tseng stepped up huge in his first state title appearance with one of the best stretches of golf you'll see on the high school scene. On the back nine of the second round, the freshman birdied the 11th, 12th and 13th holes, eagled the par-five 14th hole and then birdied the subsequent 15th hole to put a little bit of heat on Reinhardt and company The freshman caught absolute fire by going four under over five holes.

Fuenmayor finished fourth (142) for Mountainside who took second overall as a team (600). Freshman Collin Hodgkinson placed seventh and junior Danny Hext tied for 11th. Sunset junior Matteo Polla tied for 15th overall and sophomore Naoki Easterday tied for 22nd. Southridge senior Alex Roberts tied for 35th. Sunset placed sixth overall as a team (633).

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