SEQUIM — Ben Sweet hit the turn with momentum after an accomplishment-filled first half of 2022.
The Peninsula Daily News 2022 All-Peninsula Golf MVP committed to play college golf at a prestigious school, Whitman College, in January.
Throughout March, April and May, Sweet and his Sequim Wolves boys golf team posted an unbeaten Olympic League record, winning both the regular season and tournament championship.
Sweet also claimed the Olympic League individual title, winning by one stroke over his talented Sequim teammate, Dominic Riccobene, on a tough par-71 Kitsap Golf & Country Club layout.
“The course was playing tough and the nerves were high with state and district bids on the line,” coach Sean O’Mera said. “Ben and Dom stood out to me with their solid play: neither of them had their best games, but in a sign of their ability, they just flat-out got it done. They grinded and produced a score on a tough day.”
Sweet also qualified for the Class 2A state golf tournament in late May with the win. It was the first state high school tournament conducted since 2019, when Sweet finished 21st as a freshman.
“I was really happy to have [a state tourney] this year,” Sweet said.
After the first round, Sweet and two others were tied for second place after shooting 71, two shots back of Centralia’s Von Wasson.
Sweet joined White River’s Zach Miller and Wasson in the second day’s trio, and while Wasson faded and finished fourth, Miller and Sweet went toe to toe down the stretch.
“It was an unbelievable battle,” Sequim coach Sean O’Mera said. “It was incredibly impressive. [Ben] had tons of pressure all day,” O’Mera said.
“He knew exactly how his competitors were doing.”
Sweet made a clutch 16-foot putt on the 16th hole to take a brief lead, but Miller came back to tie on the 18th to force the sudden-death playoff. Sweet wound up two-putting and Miller was able to end it with one putt on the first playoff hole.
“[It was] still great to place second,” Sweet said. “There were some serious players in that event.”
Sequim, with Riccobene finishing 15th and Cole Smithson competing but missing the cut, finished fifth as a team at state.
“There’s nothing like having that team experience, to travel with a group of guys,” Sweet said. “Our team has a great chemistry; you couldn’t ask for a better team.”
And June saw Sweet graduate from Sequim High School with plans to join the Blues’ men’s golf team in August.
2022 All-Peninsula Golf Team
• MVP: Ben Sweet, sr., Sequim: Shot 2 under par over two days and finished second overall after a one-hole playoff at Class 2A boys golf state tournament. Won Olympic League individual championship and numerous match medalist honors throughout Sequim’s undefeated league season. Will play golf at Whitman College in Walla Walla.
• Dominic Riccobene, sr., Sequim: Finished 15th overall at 2A state tournament, helping lead Wolves to fifth-place finish as a team. Runner-up by one stroke to Sweet at Olympic League championship.
• Phoenix Flores, fr., Port Angeles: Freshman shined for Riders, shooting 81, 78 to place 27th at state tourney.
• Edun Bailey, sr., Port Angeles: Senior leader ended up 34th overall at state.
• Hannah Wagner, sr., Sequim: Shot 90, 91 to finish 24th overall at 2A girls state tournament.
• Cole Smithson, jr., Sequim: Came through at Olympic League tournament to seal state bid.
• Piper Williams, jr., Port Angeles: Led Riders’ girls in scoring average, won Olympic League girls championship and shot 96, 88 to finish 25th at state.
• Claire Osterberg, fr., Port Angeles: Qualified for state tournament as a freshman.
• Lauryn Chapman, fr., Port Angeles: Qualified for state tournament as a freshman.
• Pryce Glasser, sr., Sequim: Solid season ended with tough out at district tournament.
Sports reporter/columnist Michael Carman can be contacted at email@example.com.