HS Golf: Desert Hills looks to win its seventh consecutive 3A state title

HS Golf: Desert Hills looks to win its seventh consecutive 3A state title

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HS Golf: Desert Hills looks to win its seventh consecutive 3A state title

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Once again, the Desert Hills girls golf team is the favorite to win the 3A state championship this Wednesday and Thursday at Soldier Hollow Golf Course.

Desert Hills golfers smile after winning the Region 9 title at SunRiver Golf Club. The Thunder hold state records for most championships (6) as well as consecutive championships (6) and are once again the favorites to win the 3A tournament at Soldier Hollow this week.

Desert Hills golfers smile after winning the Region 9 title at SunRiver Golf Club. The Thunder hold state records for most championships (6) as well as consecutive championships (6) and are once again the favorites to win the 3A tournament at Soldier Hollow this week.

And for good reason.

The Thunder currently hold state records for most championships (6) as well as consecutive championships (6) throughout the entire state in girls’ golf.

But those accomplishments haven’t gone unnoticed as Thunder players and coaches know the target on their back is only getting bigger every single day.

“I’m really excited for state, but at the same time there is a lot of the pressure that’s on us to repeat again,” Desert Hills golfer K’Jahna Plant said. “We definitely have a target on our back, but the team is playing well right now and I feel that we have the talent to repeat again.”

Leading the charge this year is senior Kyla Smith. The team captain won medalist honors three times this season in Region 9 play and won top honors at last week’s region finale at SunRiver Golf Club.

Desert Hills golfers smile after winning the Region 9 title at SunRiver Golf Club. The Thunder hold state records for most championships (6) as well as consecutive championships (6) and are once again the favorites to win the 3A tournament at Soldier Hollow this week.

Desert Hills golfers smile after winning the Region 9 title at SunRiver Golf Club. The Thunder hold state records for most championships (6) as well as consecutive championships (6) and are once again the favorites to win the 3A tournament at Soldier Hollow this week.

“Last year it was pretty much up to Katie (Perkins), and this year it’s on my shoulders,” Smith said of her team captain responsibilities. “But we’re playing pretty well as a team right now and we’re excited to go out and defend our title.”

With the help of veteran players such as Plant, Tori Thomas, and Bailee Carmack as well as some newcomers in Kellie Nance and Alesa Ashton, Desert Hills head coach Laurie Dyer likes what she is seeing from her girls.

“Before each match I talk to each of the girls and we set goals and they really respond to that,” Dyer said. “They work hard all week and you really see that from their scores because they just get better and better every week.”

When asked what the secret has been over the years, Dyers laughed and said, “We do it by the hair of our chinny-chin-chin.”

The six-time coaching champion admitted that every year has increased in difficulty and has provided for some late nights over the years.

“The stress of repeating keeps building and every year is a little more nerve-racking,” she said. “It’s definitely made for some sleepless nights.”

Desert Hills golfers pose for a picture after winning its sixth consecutive 3A state title. The Thunder look to defend their crown this week at Soldier Hollow.

Desert Hills golfers pose for a picture after winning its sixth consecutive 3A state title. The Thunder look to defend their crown this week at Soldier Hollow.

Like last year, this year’s tournament will be a two-day event with golfers playing a total of 36 holes. The Utah High School Association made the switch last year, which has only tightened the race even more.

“Girls golf is still pretty new, but I’m glad they have gone to the new format,” Dyer said. “It makes for some great tournaments, and whoever wins definitely deserves it. It’s to the point now where you have to play really, really well if you want to win because the competition is so strong. It’s just that fine of a line now if you want to take state.”

While some schools are struggling to field a team, it’s not a problem for the Thunder who have 11 girls on the team this year.

Every year Dyer holds a golf meeting in February and says she has no idea what to expect every year.

“Besides a couple of returning players, the girls just show up,” Dyer said smiling.

Past, as well as current players, agree that a big part of the strong golf program is because of the family environment that Dyer has helped instill.

“Coach Dyer is always your number one fan out there,” Perkins said. “She’s always there to help you out and is just so supportive.”

Desert Hills golfer Tori Thomas looks to make a putt at SunRiver Golf Club. The Thunder are looking to win its seventh consecutive state title this week at Soldier Hollow.

Desert Hills golfer Tori Thomas looks to make a putt at SunRiver Golf Club. The Thunder are looking to win its seventh consecutive state title this week at Soldier Hollow.

“She’s been amazing these last four years for me and I feel like that reputation is why so many girls come out for the team,” Smith added. “They see how much fun we are having and realize that we are more of a family than a team and they want to be a part of that.”

Despite just six roster spots, Dyer doesn’t cut players who come out for the team and who are willing to work and to learn the rules of the game.

“My brother was on the golf team and so I just wanted to try it out and I’ve been here since,” Plant said of her experience. “All the girls are great and I’m glad I came out.”

Dyer is glad she did too as Plant finished the Region 9 season in the top 10 for her individual play.

And with several individual top 10 finishes again this week at Soldier Hollow, Desert Hills will more than likely be walking away some more hardware.

“I couldn’t be any prouder of the girls and I’m so excited for them,” Perkins said. “I know their nerves are high but if they can keep their they can definitely win it again.”

Follow Justin Giles on Twitter @Justingiles22 or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/JustinGilesSportsWriter.

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HS Golf: Desert Hills looks to win its seventh consecutive 3A state title
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