Everett’s Andrew Martin watches his drive sail through the air during a tournament at Legion Memorial Golf Course in Everett on May 3. (Ian Terry / The Herald)

Seagulls’ resurgence due to stellar play of underclassmen

Last May, after Everett golfer Andrew Martin completed his second round at the Class 3A state golf tournament at Qualchan Golf Course in Spokane, he wasn’t thinking too much about his score (80 for the second straight day) or finish (tied for 31st).

No, his thoughts pretty much immediately turned to the following spring. Martin sent a text message to two of his friends, then-eighth graders Austin Duffy and Josef Koznek, that said, “Next season starts now.”

Yes, even as far back as a year ago, Martin and Seagulls coach Darrell Olson knew this year could be a good one for the Everett boys golf team. It turns out they were right.

The Seagulls took third place in their first Wesco 3A outing of the season and haven’t been defeated since. They are one of the favorites to win the 3A District championship, and should qualify several golfers for the 3A state tournament, to be held later this month.

“We’re a real close-knit team,” Martin said. “We cheer each other up even when we do bad. That’s helped us. It’s a lot more fun this year since we have a (full team).

“There was an excitement (at the start of the season). I could tell we were going to be good; I just didn’t know how good compared to other teams. But I could see this coming.”

Everett is a young team to say the least — the Seagulls’ lineup is filled entirely with underclassmen. Their captain (Martin) is a sophomore. But the group’s results have belied its relative youth.

Martin was the team’s unquestioned No. 1 player last year. This spring, with the additions of Koznek and Duffy, he’s taken on a different role, occupying the No. 3 spot in the lineup and assuming the team’s leadership mantle.

“The team matters most to him. His individual play comes second,” Olson said. “His emotions are under control. He’s a competitor, but he’s always positive. He’s got a great mindset for the game. He’s a tireless worker. He leads by example and leads with words.”

Koznek and Duffy entered high school with several years of high-level junior tournament experience and a passion for the game.

“They’re what I call instant-impact players,” Olson said. “Usually freshmen have to find their way through the league the first time. These guys didn’t have to find their way. They’ve definitely lived up to their pre-high school billing.”

Koznek, who’s been the Seagulls’ top player most of the season, and Duffy, the team’s primary No. 2, have consistently scored in the low-to-mid-70s. But they’ve proven they can go even lower on occasion — Koznek shot a 4-under par 68 at a Wesco 3A North match last Wednesday at Legion Memorial Golf Course in Everett, and Duffy fired a 5-under 67 at a Wesco 3A North match at Gleneagle Golf Course in Arlington on April 24.

“Austin is a real gritty player. He’s going to grind it out no matter if he’s hitting it good or bad. He works on his game really hard,” Olson said. “Josef is a really smooth player. He’s naturally talented. The game comes easy to him.”

“It’s been fun to play with them,” Martin said. “They have a great work ethic, and they’re helping the team grow. We’re all competitive and push each other to get better. “

Everett also has quality depth at the bottom of its lineup with sophomores Andrew Olson and Connor Bugni.

“Their scores are coming down,” Garrett Olson said. “They have important roles on the team. They help us win matches.”

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