With each passing week, the Desert Hills girl’s golf team makes a better case for its claim to a Region 9 title.
Led by sophomore Kyla Smith the Thunder outlasted the cold weather and bothersome wind common to Cedar City in the spring en route to a close first-place finish at the Cedar Ridge Golf Course.
Smith garnered top honors for the first time in her young career with a match-low 40, to help Desert Hills leave the course with a score of 181, five better than Dixie who finished second with 186.
She drew praise from Thunder head coach Laurie Dyer, who said Smith had to play especially tough to come out on top of the Thunder’s usual frontrunner Katie Perkins, who finished tied for third with a 45.
“Katie’s been very consistently tough to beat this season,” Dyer said. “It’s Kyla’s first medal, so we’re happy for her.”
Smith couldn’t have been happier.
“It’s a great accomplishment for me, I’m just ecstatic,” she said. “This brings my confidence up quite a bit. I’m pumped for region now.”
Snow Canyon took third at the match, nine shots behind Dixie at 195 and seven ahead of Pine View, which finished with 202.
Canyon View, Hurricane and Cedar brought up the rear with 229, 234 and 245, respectively.
Smith’s finish had a lot to do with her improvements at the tee, where she admitted to having some struggles of late.
“I drove very well today,” she said. “I’ve been having some issues, so it was nice (today).”
Dixie’s Gracie Richins was on Smith’s heels down to the last hole and finished just behind her at 41.
Perkins and Snow Canyon’s Stephanie Hall tied for third at 45.
Desert Hills’ Megan Welch, Dixie’s Mikayla Frei and Snow Canyon’s Bergen Nelson all came in at 46 to tie for fifth while Nicole Miller of Hurricane and Shay Bauman of Cedar finished eighth with a score of 47.
Pine View’s Taylor Bandley and Hannah Schone each finished with 48, as did Canyon View’s Madisen Affleck, to round out the top ten.
With less-than-ideal conditions, no golfers came close to the nine-hole par 36, with most finishing at 50 or higher.
The girls faced similar windy condition last week at the St. George Country Club, but the temperatures were warmer.
With highs only near 50 degrees Tuesday, the wind made the experience much less accommodating.
“It’s freezing out here,” Dyer said. “That wind is like ice. We played in the wind last week in St. George and wind’s always a tough condition, but when you add the (cold) temperature the girls are very uncomfortable.”
The unpleasantness showed on the scoreboard.
“The top four are usually down in the 30s,” Dyer said. “Today is the first time (this year) that 40 is our low, so that kind of tells you about the conditions out here.”
The girls compete in their final match next week at Sun River before heading into the state tournament.
Team results: Desert Hills 181, Dixie 186, Snow Canyon 195, Pine View 202, Canyon View 229, Hurricane 234, Cedar 245.
Individual results: Kyla Smith, DHHS, 40; Gracie Richins, Dixie, 41; Katie Perkins, DHHS, 41; Stephanie Hall, Dixie, 45; Megan Welch, DHHS, 45; Mikayla Frei, Dixie, 45; Bergen Nelson, SC, 46; Nicole Miller, HHS, 46; Shay Bauman, CHS, 47; Madisen Affleck, CV, 47; Taylor Bandley, PV, 47; Hannah Schone, PV, 48.