Valley Catholic took an early lead and was ahead of Seaside by 12 strokes in Monday's Seaside Invitational golf match, with the top two golfers for each team done with their rounds.
But the Gulls were not to be denied on their home course, as they rallied with their next three golfers to score a dramatic team win at Gearhart Golf Links.
Valley Catholic’s duo of Peter Boileau and Ryoma Lane both shot 74, while Seaside’s Mason Shamion carded an 81 and Curtis Kunde shot 79.
Seaside teammate Connor Merrell came in with a 79 to gain back 10 strokes out of the third position, and Carson Kawasoe’s 87 put the Gulls up by two. Samson Sibony, playing at the No. 5 position, finished with an 80 to seal the team championship.
Seaside finished the day with a 319 team score to Valley Catholic’s 328. Astoria came back from 16 down after three players to edge Tillamook for third place by a single stroke, 361 to 362.
Also competing were Molalla (371), Ilwaco (379), Banks (379), Wahkiakum (383) and North Marion (403).
On the individual side, Ilwaco junior Blake Kukula tied Lane and Boileau with a 74. On the first playoff hole for medalist honors, Kukula stuck his second shot within feet of the hole and knocked in his birdie putt to win his third straight Seaside Invitational medalist honor.
As an eighth grader in 2015, Kukula lost in a playoff for medalist honors and has now shot for at least a tie after regulation four straight years.
Merrell and Kunde tied for fourth place with Kunde winning a scorecard playoff.
“I’ve always said, it is not the top golfers that win team titles but the four and five guys that put teams over the top,” said Seaside coach Jim Poetsch. “Today it was our three though five guys that did it for us. Not that we know who is one through five on our team, but the guys that end up playing those spots are the guys that will win big tournaments for us.”
Shamion and Kunde put up good scores, he said, “but we were still down big after the Valley kids put up great numbers. But we usually come in with good scores throughout our lineup and that is how we win tournaments. Connor came in to tie Curtis, Carson secured the win and Samson, who was in the very last group, still had a chance to tie the leaders with three holes to go.”
All five Astoria golfers shot solid rounds, led by Taylor Palmberg with an 88, followed by Dylan Altheide-Nielson and Connor Long (both with 89), Josh Olson (95) and Jacob Ficken (96).
The Gulls finish the regular season Wednesday with a league match vs. Banks at Gearhart.