Eklund, Wasson cap careers with top-5 finishes


W.F. West’s Natalie Eklund and Centralia’s Von Wasson ended their high school careers on a high note on Wednesday in Liberty Lake, as they both finished in the top five at the 2A state tournament.

Eklund shot a 78 on Day 2 at MeadowWood Golf Course, giving her a total of 153 and putting her tied for fourth with White River’s Alle Klemkow.

Only West Valley’s Melia Cerenzia (146), Ephrata’s Jayme Dwight (150), and White River’s Lexie Mahler (150) shot better.

Wasson followed up his 71 from Day 1 with a 77 at Liberty Lake Golf Course on Day 2, giving him a total of 148 across the two days.

That put him in fifth, behind Burlington-Edison’s Wyatt Brownell (135), Rex Wilson (142), and Ben Wilson (144), as well as White River’s Kaden Ausen (142).

It’s the third-straight year that Wasson has recorded a top-5 finish, as he took second last season at Liberty Lake and third at Capital City Golf Club in Olympia in 2022.

“That’s a lot to be proud of,” Centralia coach Hal Gronseth said. “For him to do that as consistently as he did is really a great accomplishment.”

Gronseth also commended Wasson not just for his ability the last few years, but for how he has handled himself on the course, saying he often receives compliments from opposing players, coaches, and fans.

“He’s been a privilege to coach,” Gronseth said. “He has been an honor to his team, his school, and his family … He just puts in an incredible amount of time and has accomplished a bunch so far, and I think he has a bunch more to accomplish.”

Wasson will be heading to UC Riverside in the fall to continue his golf career.

Eklund was one of four Bearcats to make the cut on day two, as Grace Oien finished tied for 17th with a 176, Abby Alexander finished tied for 26th with a 188, and Madysen Alexander finished tied for 34th with a 197.

As a team, W.F. West finished third with 81.5 points, 2.5 behind White River for second and 28.5 behind White River, the team champions.

“Success for the Bearcats really comes down to team success,” W.F. West coach Matt Klovdahl said. “We needed all four golfers to make it to the second day in order to be able to win a trophy and edge out some other good golf programs. It was an exciting day for Bearcats golf.”

Also finishing in the top 20 was Black Hills’ Ellie Johnson, who tied Oien with a total of 176. Johnson shot a 92 on Day 1, but her mark of 84 on Day 2 was tied for the 11th-best of the day.

Jack Casler also made it through to Day 2 on the boys side, and he shot an 83, which put him at 161 across two days.

That was good enough for a top-20 finish, as he tied for 18th with Washougal's Mather Minnis.