POULSBO — Driven by the momentum of proving itself among the Narrows League best of the best in 2006, the North’s boys golf team has begun its season with a poised anticipation.
Last year at the Narrows League Championships, the Vikings finished No. 2, runner up to the eventual state champion Bellarmine Prep. With that performance, they topped some of the league’s big dogs: Gig Harbor, South Kitsap and Olympia.
“That was a huge thing for us,” NK head coach Tom Harney said. “I think that developed some confidence, and I think these (NK) guys believe that they can go after those perennial schools … we’re moving in that direction.”
“Those will be our three toughest matches,” senior David Dobson said of Bellarmine, South Kitsap and Gig Harbor, all of which are on the Vikings’ 2007 regular season schedule. “We’re actually looking to beat them, we’d love to give Bellarmine a run for (its) money.”
Though the team is young — with Dobson being the only senior on the roster with varsity experience — the Vikings still have expertise despite losing last year’s lead man Stephen Duwe. Dobson, junior Joey Duwe and sophomore Mitch Woodside are all returning to the varsity line-up, the latter two with an offseason full of improvement in their bags.
In the team’s first match of the season, the Vikings totaled 59 points to beat Mount Tahoma March 8 at the Port Ludlow links.
“That’s a strong score for Ludlow in the rain,” Dobson said.
At practice on the same course Wednesday, the team broke into the 60s realm, which was impressive to Harney.
“Even though we lost a good number one player, (our) middle line up — the 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 guys — have improved over the course of last season and over the summer,” the head coach said. “If you get one season under your belt, that’s way more golf than the average human being plays.”
With the skills more or less in place from playing that much, the Vikings’ focus is centered on keeping composure and performing under pressure.
“I don’t ever want them to let the opponent know that they hit a bad shot,” Harney said. “I love to watch the kids who maintain poise and stay cool all the time.”
Though that type of presence is difficult to develop, it’s something that is learned by example and established through practice, Harney said. And with a new 18-hole golf course — White Horse — taking route in the North End, practice opportunities should be bolstered.
“That place is a fabulous practice facility,” Harney said. “The youth in the North End are really going to develop because of these facilities.”
But the course isn’t scheduled to open until later this April. So for now, the Vikings will still be practicing and hosting meets at Port Ludlow.
The team will also be playing a few Tacoma-area courses for the first time. For its next match March 22, NK will travel to one of them — Brookdale Golf Club in Spanaway — to face Lincoln High School.