While Redmond won’t be officially competing as a team at the two-day regional boys golf championships, which are scheduled to start Monday in Hood River, they will be represented there.
Because Redmond wasn’t among the top four teams overall in the four league tournaments, Panthers coach Tam Bronkey said they don’t qualify for the regional tournament. But four at-large players between Redmond and Pendleton, the bottom two teams in the standings, still make the regional tournament, giving them a chance to reach the May 13-14 Class 5A State Tournament at Trysting Tree in Corvallis.
With the at-large spots split between the Panthers and Buckaroos, Redmond’s Emmett Hagen and Don Cort will take part in the regional tournament. Ridgeview won all four league tournaments and an automatic spot at state.
Hagen, a junior is leading the Panthers. He finished the season 10th individually in the Intermountain Conference.
When asked what huge can do at the regional tournament, Hagen replied, “I’m capable of going to state.”
“I don’t know what that’s going to take, but that’s a good answer,” Bronkey added.
While the reclassification before the 2018-19 school year means that Redmond teams no longer have to compete with Bend schools for state bids, it brought confusion as to what is required to qualify.
“We’re in an entirely different league,” Bronkey said. “We’re traveling to places we haven’t been to in the eight or nine years I’ve been coaching. It’s definitely been an adjustment, but we’re figuring it out.”
Hagen finds success by trying to get mistakes out of his mind. He prepares for tournaments by listening to a lot of 1980s and ‘90s music. His favorite bands are Def Leppard and Nickelback.
“Just don’t think about it,” he said. “Come at it with a clean, open shot.”
After a disappointing sophomore season, where he shot over 100 on occasions, Hagen said he has played more consistently in the 80s this year. He hopes to do even better in 2020.
“This year was really a good developmental year,” he said. “Next year, I’m really going to try to push for (a top finish at) state. The stakes are high and I want to try my best. That’s the least I can do.”
Top non-regional qualifiers for Redmond include Brady Barnes and Iggy Burk.
Like with all Central Oregon teams, the Panthers’ season started off indoors because of heavy snowfall. Redmond practiced most of March at the Elton Gregory Middle School gymnasium.
“We literally were in there with some mats and some wiffle balls for about three weeks,” Bronkey said. “The kids were going stir crazy, as was I. But everybody was in the same boat.”
— Reporter: 541-548-2186, firstname.lastname@example.org