Umatilla sophomore Mandi Villanueva finished 36th to lead the Vikings at their first-ever state tournament Monday and Tuesday in Redmond.

By the Hermiston Herald

REDMOND — You have to start somewhere.

And for the Umatilla High School girls golf team they really couldn't have asked for a better one.

Sure, the Vikings placed 16th out of 18 teams at the Class 3A/2A/1A girls state golf tournament Monday and Tuesday at Eagle Crest in Redmond.

But then again, what where the expectations of just a second-year program?

"I wanted to beat some teams," coach Tony Villanueva said.

And by that measure, Umatilla's first appearance at state can be deemed a success. Mandi Villanueva finished 36th overall as the Vikings shot a two-day score of 858, 56 strokes better than their district total.

"It was a good experience," Tony Villanueva said for his team that returned just two players from its inaugural season.

Tillamook edged Cowapa League rival Astoria by two strokes to win the state title with a 707.

Agatha Brzezinski of Wilsonville shot a 154 to take medalist honors.

Villanueva, who finished second at district, posted one of her better rounds of the season Monday with a 93. But with her dad watching and following her on the course, she shot a 102 in the second round to finish with a 195.

Mandi shot a 56 on the front-9 Tuesday before posting a 46 on the back-9.

"I think I made her a little nervous," Tony said.

Chrissi Forshee, the Vikings other returner from last season, finished 41st with a 198.

Exchange student Stephanie Frenkler bettered her first round score by 19 shots on the second day and finished 72nd with a 221 total.

Freshman Brianne Bieren was 91st at 248 and Theresa Matzen was 15 strokes better on her second round and finished 96th at 263.

"I am really happy the way things went," Villanueva said.

Now with the unfamiliarity of the state tournament behind them, Villanueva said beating two teams would be a disappointment the next time around.

"(This year) getting there is good, next year we want to do a little bit better," he said.

"I think everyone believes that if we work hard this summer we can go back down there and have some fun."

And fun for Villanueva and the Vikings means moving up the leaderboard.

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