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Prep golf notes: Gonzaga Prep holds slim lead over Mead in boys standings

The Big East tournament has been renamed to honor former Mt. Spokane girls coach Eleen Northcutt, pictured right at the 2012 State 3A tournament. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)
The Big East tournament has been renamed to honor former Mt. Spokane girls coach Eleen Northcutt, pictured right at the 2012 State 3A tournament. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)

Mother Nature has been grumpy, but that hasn’t prevented the Greater Spokane League from producing tight races for the boys and girls regular-season golf titles.

Gonzaga Prep won the closest league match to date, edging Central Valley by one shot and Mead by four Monday at Kalispel Country Club. The Bullpups climbed into first place with 37 points through four GSL matches. Mead is next at 36, followed by CV with 32.

G-Prep freshman Nate Plaster was medalist with a 72. Classmate Will Reeves added a 76. Plaster’s older brother, Jack, and Reeves’ older brother, Jack, both carded 78s.

“Nate had to battle through the conditions,” G-Prep coach Dennis Dougherty said. “He’s a pretty tough-minded kid. He has a maturity with dealing with adversity.”

There’s been plenty of that this spring with rain, hail, wind and flooding. The Bullpups used restricted-flight golf balls and had contests to see who could make the longest field goals on the football field. Mead’s boys got some work in on Kalispel’s golf simulator.

The Panthers have won two of the four GSL matches, but they were third in the other two. G-Prep has three second-place finishes. CV won the second league match at MeadowWood.

How tight are G-Prep and Mead? Through four matches, G-Prep has 1,562 strokes, Mead 1,563.

Mead’s Zane Mularski and Nick Muxlow both shot 75s Monday, joining Central Valley’s Zach Stocker in a three-way tie for second.

The player of the year race is as tight as the team standings heading into the regular-season finale at Sun Dance next Wednesday. Nate Plaster has a 72.3 scoring average through three events. Mularski is at 74.25 in four tournaments, but it drops to 72.3 when his highest score is dropped. Players are permitted to toss out their highest score from the five matches.

Mt. Spokane’s girls, winners of three of the four GSL matches, have 39 points, two in front of Lewis and Clark. The widest margin between the teams was eight strokes.

Mt. Spokane senior Megan Billeter was medalist with a 76 on Monday.

“She just works on her game all the time,” Wildcats coach Ryan Nelson said. “I’ll see her on Monday and she’ll let me know she played a practice round or went to the range over the weekend.”

The Western Washington-bound Billeter is comfortably ahead in the individual race with a 78.0 scoring average. University’s Courtney Jackson is second at 83.

Fitting tribute

Mt. Spokane’s Nelson came up with a fitting tribute to Eleen Northcutt, the longtime Wildcats coach who lost her battle with cancer in February.

The Big East tournament, held last week, was renamed the Eleen Northcutt Invitational in honor of Northcutt, who spent countless honors building the event into one of the best on the prep golf calendar.

“I wanted to think of something new and keep the traditional trophy as well,” Nelson said. “And something that represented her was a championship belt. She fought so hard throughout her life with a couple different bouts with cancer.”

Richland won the tournament, followed by Kamiakin and host Mt. Spokane.

Northcutt guided the Wildcats to three GSL titles in the last four years and the school’s first state title in 2014.

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