To give his players an edge, Redmond girls golf coach Jeff Roundtree set up a video chat the night before the 5A state final with his longtime friend Brian Watts, former men's golf coach at Oregon State and Army West Point.
"He talked with the girls for about an hour, giving them some great insight on how to stay relaxed and play within themselves," Roundtree said. "He came up with a key word for them to think about when they were playing to keep them relaxed if things went bad, and that was 'cool beans.'"
The result for the Panthers was certainly "cool beans," as the Redmond girls went on to win their first ever state championship Wednesday at Pine Ridge Golf Club in Springfield.
While the tournament was not sanctioned by the Oregon School Activities Association, due to scheduling issues stemming from the COVID-pandemic, the Panthers are considered 5A state champions for all intents and purposes.
"As it turned out, it's not OSAA, they're not recognizing it, but we had more of a turnout for the 5A championship than we would have in a regular 5A OSAA championship," Roundtree said. "Teams had to go through regional qualifying to get there."
The Panthers had three girls finish in the top five on their way to a team score of 393, winning by a whopping 29 strokes. Silverton was second (422) and Crescent Valley took third (434). Ridgeview finished seventh (446) and Crook County was eighth (460).
Mercedes Marriott, of Crescent Valley, won individual honors with a 13-over-par 85. Crook County's Merritt O'Gorman finished second with a 92.
Leading the way for Redmond was third-place McKenzie Richardson (95), fourth-place Klanci Hinton (96), and Elizabeth Richardson (97), who tied for fifth.
"We're thrilled we were able to do this and it turned out the way it did," Roundtree said. "The performances were great. Scores don't matter to me. My philosophy is match play — try to teach them how to play hole by hole and shot by shot. We try to limit the major errors. If we get in trouble, we play out of it."
The 16-team 5A final was organized by Thurston girls golf coach Nathan Wiedenmann. The Panthers qualified for the final through their performance at regional events at Meadow Lakes Golf Course in Prineville and Juniper Golf Course in Redmond earlier this month.
Conditions Wednesday at hilly, challenging Pine Ridge included on and off rain and wind, according to Roundtree.
But the Redmond golfers kept their cool on a demanding course on their way to the state title.
"It was a thrill," Roundtree said. "It wasn't even close. The nearest team was 29 strokes back. We really performed well on a very difficult golf course."