Longtime coach looking for a special week with his team, plus he’s rooting for an athlete from Woodland
David Long will be driving home from a sporting event on Wednesday, like he has done so many times through the decades.
Only this time it will be the last time.
“This is the year of lasts,” Long said. “Everything is the last.”
The head coach of the boys basketball team at Columbia River High School for 30 seasons, Long has also been the boys golf coach for 25 years. Retiring at the end of this school year, Long is in Olympia with the Columbia River Rapids at the Class 2A state golf tournament, which starts Tuesday and concludes Wednesday.
If all goes well, Long and the Rapids could be bringing home some hardware. If all goes really, really well, that could be a championship trophy.
“It’s right up there with the best teams I’ve ever had,” Long said. “Really deep. I don’t have that state champion (individual). I don’t have that one guy. But I have five guys who are capable of shooting in the 70s.”
It should have been six guys. More on that later.
But Long also said he has seen at least one golfer from Southwest Washington who is, or could be, the guy.
Dane Huddleston of Woodland is one of the best in the state.
“He’s the real deal. He’s the odds-on favorite, in my opinion, to win it,” Long said. “He’s a Division-I golfer. He’s solid. Doesn’t make a lot of mistakes and he makes a lot of birdies.”
So here come the Columbia River Rapids hoping to record some magic this week at state as a team, but they will also have their eye on the scoreboard for a friendly rival.
“We’re pulling for Dane,” Long said. “We hope he wins it.”
The state golf tournaments, Tuesday and Wednesday at various locations, start a whirlwind of activity this week for the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association. The boys and girls golf seasons will conclude Wednesday, but then state champions will be crowned in every other spring sport by Saturday: Baseball, boys soccer, softball, boys and girls tennis, and boys and girls track and field.
Clark County has teams and athletes in every event. Look for more stories on those sports throughout the week.
Today, the focus is on golf, and the end of a coaching era at Columbia River.
“It’s been good,” Long said. “I love Columbia River. I’ve been there for 35 years. It’s just been great. Great, great local administrative support, student support, and the parent support has been phenomenal.”
(Clark County Today profiled Long during his final basketball season. For that three-part report, go to: https://www.clarkcountytoday.com/sports/reflecting-on-a-coaching-career-part-1-david-long-set-to-retire-reflects-on-his-career-at-columbia-river/)
This year’s golf team could make for an extra special goodbye for Long. Alden Fay, Ryan Snyder, Alex Snyder, Noah Larson, and Caleb Bunn will be teeing off for the Rapids. Jack Kendrick also qualified for state but he is injured and will not be able to play.
The Snyder brothers are just one more set of siblings that Long has coached to state through the years.
Ryan, the senior, qualified for state when he was a freshman. There hasn’t been a state tournament the past two years.
“He’s basically a four-year qualifier,” Long said, noting that Ryan has only improved and would have been to state the past two years if the pandemic had not hit.
Alex used to focus on soccer but he is now “stuck on golf,” Long said, playing every day.
“They’re typical brothers. They give each other grief and throw it back with jabs here and there, but they support each other really well, too,” Long said.
A special time for the Snyder family, the Long family, and the extended Rapids family.
Columbia River is the top seed in boys soccer, the No. 2 seed in baseball, this golf team is talented, and the girls tennis squad has a chance to win a title, as well.
“Columbia River spring sports have been outrageous. We’re just loaded in spring sports,” Long said.
It has made for interesting discussions on campus.
“Our school right now is really flying high with spring sports,” Long said. “It’s different. Not as attended as well as football or basketball games. You don’t really hear about them until the playoffs. Then everybody is like, ‘Oh my.’ Everyone is still playing at Columbia River.”
One last time for David Long.
Here is the list of Clark County golfers who have qualified for their state tournaments.
Class 4A Boys
Indian Summer Golf and Country Club, Olympia
Battle Ground: Alex Salinas; Ty Robertson
Camas: Eli Huntington; Leo Cassel; Evan Chen; Drew Scott; Rheaume Easton
Skyview: Cole Entenman; Allen Kim; Dustin Brooks
Union: Laredo Maldonado; Adam Parker; Will Rushing; Mason Bluestein; Cody Youngren
Class 4A Girls
Hawks Prairie (Links) Golf Course, Lacey
Camas: Jacinda Lee; Jasmin Chen; Callie Wengler; Susannah Gillispie; Ella Kim; Julie Strandemo
Union: Jade Gruher
Class 3A Boys
Liberty Lake Golf Course, Liberty Lake
Heritage: Tanner Moody
Mountain View: Grady Millar; Spencer Moody; Alex Rigby; Braden Kendrick; Kian Iverson
Prairie: Jack Dahlberg; Jack Leidy; Brecken Desmet; Hayden Rose; Elijah Harm
Class 3A Girls
Meadowwood Golf Course, Liberty Lake
Mountain View: Annika Yeh; Kahlia Holmes; Camryn Perry; Jelena Gonzalez; Josie Kuffner
Prairie: Kennedy Higgins
Class 2A Boys
Capitol City Golf Club, Olympia
Columbia River: Alden Fay; Ryan Snyder; Alex Snyder; Noah Larson; Caleb Bunn
Hockinson: Grant Gumringer
Ridgefield: Cruz Combs
Washougal: Keagan Payne
Woodland: Dane Huddleston; Logan Autry
Class 2A Girls
Tumwater Valley Golf Club, Tumwater
Hockinson: Hailey Saeman; Grace Phillips
Washougal: Katie Zillman
Woodland: Zoe Jouwsma; Brooklyn Gaston; Karalynn Conditt
Class 1A Boys
Indian Canyon Golf Course, Spokane
King’s Way Christian: Isaac Pisarczyk
Seton Catholic: Jacob Parker; Sid Apostolou; Carson Helm
Class 1A Girls
Indian Canyon Golf Course, Spokane
King’s Way Christian: Gracie Harlow; Riley Philbrook
La Center: Sabrina Joner, Raegan Boyse