Grade school buddies enjoy competitive golf together through high school
Friends since grade school, Parker Kneadler and Colt Sherrell just finished their high school athletics, playing golf on a high note when they, along with teammates, took second place at the State Championships.
Their story began in 3rdgrade when they were both on the same baseball team, with Sherrell in the position of catcher and Kneadler in the position of pitcher. But a couple of years later changes were on the horizon and during their 5thgrade year, the boys decided they wanted to switch sports and give golf a try. According to Kneadler, his dad was a golf enthusiast who encouraged Kneadler to give it a go. It did not take long before the boys were hooked and as Sherrell put it – they were full on in love with the sport.
As youngsters, they played Par 3 courses and depending on the tournament, one of the boys would win one time and the next time the other would win. They also enjoyed watching golf on television where they became huge enthusiastic fans of Tiger Woods. Inspired by Tiger and as members of the Meridian Valley Country Club in Kent, they spent many hours on the golf course honing their skills.
When middle school rolled around, the boys were split with Sherrell going to Tahoma Middle School and Kneadler going Cedar River. While at Cedar River, Kneadler met Coach David Reynoldson, who not only had him in Science class where he saw Kneadler as a great student, but also coached Kneadler in basketball where he saw Kneadler as a great shooter and athlete.
A couple of years later as freshmen, both young men decided to join the Tahoma High School’s Golf Team under Coach Mike Hanson with both qualifying for the State tournament held in spring. At the beginning of their Sophomore year, Coach Reynoldson, who already knew Kneadler, met Sherrell when Reynoldson took over as golf coach. Under Coach Reynoldson, both young men made their way to State over the next 3 years.
Practice for the team takes place at Druids Glenn, and unlike other team sports at the high school level, golf is a year around commitment when playing at the state level. Over the summer months, players are encouraged to keep their skills up by getting involved in summer golf tournaments.
Also, unlike other high school sports that run their seasons quarterly, from beginning through State, golf team competition takes place in the fall quarter with the rest of the fall sports, but only runs through Districts. Then it is not until spring that they complete their season with State Championships.
During school to school competitions, competitors play in 9-hole matches. However, when District competition comes along, golfers must step up to an 18-hole competition followed by State, which is two days of 18-holes each day.
While Kneadler and Sherrell’s Junior year (2017) team competition was an exciting season going 21-0 to bring home the NPSL (North Puget Sound League) League Championship, their 2018 State competition took it up another notch. Sherrell’s younger brother, Luke, who is a Freshman, played in the state tournament this year helping the team take 2ndplace over all while tying for 26thplace as an individual. Also, in their own individual competition, Sherrell took 2ndplace with Kneadler, tying for 18thplace.
“Both boys finished their four years at Tahoma as four year state qualifiers, with this year being their best finish individually and as a team as well,” said Coach Reynoldson. “The boys have been playing competitive golf against each other and with each other for so many years. They played all but one match in their high school careers together as the 1 and 2 golfers at Tahoma. They both approach the game differently but have very common goals – shoot low and win.”
Because of their enthusiasm for the sport of golf, Sherrell and Kneadler were instrumental in growing the Golf Team by talking other fellow students into joining the team, with guys playing on one team and gals on another. For their part, young ladies representing the Tahoma Girls Golf Team at the 2018 State Championships included Junior Abby Goodell and Senior Emma Adkins.
Leaving his competitive golf behind him to concentrate on math and computer science when he enters the University of Arizona in Tucson this coming fall, Kneadler stated that he learned a lot from his time playing golf. He found that he gained a lot of mental strength as well as liked the idea of playing the game as an individual against everyone else.
As for Sherrell, his most exciting and memorable moment, out of so many memorable competitive moments, came from cheering for his long-time friend Kneadler during the 2018 State Championship. It was during the second day of competition after a not so good first day that he watched his friend in the last moments come in with a solid round that helped the team pull in their 2ndplace trophy and best State finish for the Tahoma Boys Golf Team.
Like Kneadler, Sherrell will head off to further his education at the University of Idaho where he will concentrate on business entrepreneurship. But unlike Kneadler, he is excited to continue his golf competition as a part of the Men’s Golf Team. Question? – Could we see Sherrell and/or Kneadler on the pro-circuit someday? Keep your eye out … developing.