By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
Team-building, and self-sacrifice for those teammates, are among the many lessons taught through educational athletics.
Portland junior golfer Ethan Getchell has picked them up quickly.
Getchell, an all-league selection in 2017 as a sophomore, will not be playing in Wednesday’s Division 3 Regional hosted by his school – by his own accord.
He instead chose for a senior teammate to take his place.
Raiders sophomore Zach Pier – who tied for third at last season’s Division 3 Final – leads the lineup and was locked in for the Regional. Teams send out five golfers, so four more spots remained. But five others also played significant roles on this season’s Portland team – four of the five earned some level of all-league recognition, and the fifth had the team’s third-best score at the league tournament.
After all the numbers for the season were tallied, the final spot came down to Getchell and senior Devin Miller.
Both earned all-league honorable mention this season. Their competitive stroke averages are separated by less than a tenth of a stroke. So the opportunity to play in the Regional came down to a practice round at Willow Wood Golf Course, where this week’s tournament will be played. Getchell shot a season-best 79, while Miller had an off day and fired a 91.
Getchell earned the spot – and gave it right back after the team’s brief post-practice meeting.
As Portland coach Jon Snellenberger wrote: “(Ethan) felt whether he played or Devin played in the Regional tournament, that on any given day his or Devin’s competitive performance would still help their team’s result. He further explained that throughout the season Devin’s play, along with that of their other four teammates, (saw) at least one of them step up in different matches to make Portland a very competitive golf team to compete against.”
Getchell also noted to his coach, “That being a junior, he would look forward to next season, his senior year, to have the opportunity to play in a state Regional tournament, and that for Devin, a graduating senior, this may be his last chance to play in a high school golf match in his career.”
The next day, Getchell and Miller were called into a meeting with Snellenberger and athletic director Kevin Veale. Snellenberger and Veale suspected Miller – noting his character as well – might turn down the opportunity. Miller did state, according to Snellenberger, “(that) his stats hadn’t met the standard for this tournament’s lineup, but that Ethan’s stats had.”
But then Getchell again made his desire known. Miller, “with a degree of humble reluctance,” accepted Getchell’s spot in the lineup.
Miller will join the lineup and Getchell will be the team’s alternate Wednesday.
But regardless of the results, both starred in how they graciously gave and accepted a meaningful opportunity.
PHOTOS: Ethan Getchell (left) begins a swing this season, while Devin Miller watches after his follow-through. (Photos courtesy of the Portland athletic department.)