All eyes are on Park City as the 3A State Golf tournament begins Wednesday at Soldier Hollow.
While there has been some dominant high school teams over the past decade, the Miners deserve to be at the top of the list.
Park City comes in having won eight consecutive state golf titles and if there was ever a year to take them down, this year might be the best year to try and do that.
The Miners lost their top two players from a year ago, but at the same time, the Miners have shown they have no problem reloading every year.
“They are good every year,” Pine View head coach Brooks Bergeson said. “They’ll graduate a couple of guys and the next year they come back even better. It’s crazy.”
Luckily for Bergeson, the Panthers didn’t lose a single player from last year’s fourth-place team and are one of the favorites heading in to take down the defending champs.
“It’s time,” Pine View senior Noah Schone said after finishing first in the final Region 9 tournament of the year last week at Sky Mountain. “We respect them a lot, but it’s time to put an end to that streak.”
Schone will lead the charge for the Panthers after he finished first in seven of the nine region tournaments. The senior finished third overall at state last year after firing rounds of 66 and 71.
“I feel really good about going into state next week. Anytime you’re striking the ball that well that’s all you can ask for,” Schone said about his seven birdies last week. “I left some putts out there, but if I can cut down on the bogeys I think I’ll have a good shot at state.”
When asked if he feels any pressure heading into his final tournament of his high school career, the Dixie State commit said, “I don’t feel any pressure right now, but ask me that the day of the tournament,” he said laughing. “It’s definitely bittersweet heading into state because I’ve been playing golf with my teammates for a long time. But we told ourselves that we’re just going to go out there and have fun and see what happens.”
Schone will have plenty of help with Jaden Milne, Trajen Kidd and Dakota Millward anchoring a talented and deep Panthers squad.
Don’t count out Dixie, which finished second in region. From top to bottom, the Flyers have arguably the most consistent group. Every week, there isn’t much of a gap from the “No. 1 player and the “No. 6 player as the entire team sits usually within a couple of strokes of each other.”
“We have eight guys this year who can show up and be the top guy,” said Dixie head coach Jared Huddleston after a tournament at Sunbrook. “It’s nice to have that consistency, but at the same time it makes my job pretty tough trying to narrow the team to just six guys every week.”
Desert Hills looks to bounce back after a disappointing finish at State last year. After a rough first day, the Thunder didn’t make the cut to play the second day, something the team wants to correct this year.
“Last year was really disappointing and we know we are better than that,” said Desert Hills’ Will Stewart.
The Thunder have experienced players in Kammeron Plant and Jordan Newby, but also has some up and coming stars in Curtis Matheson and Kyson Plant.
Hurricane is the fourth and final team to get into State after coming from behind to knock off Snow Canyon after a good showing at Sky Mountain last week.
The Tigers didn’t qualify last year as a team, but did have two players represented for individual play in Thomas Christiansen and Christian Morris.
This year, the Tigers are young, but do have some guys that can lay led by Bryson Anderson, Nate Horsely and Britton Esplin.
The biggest factor for teams heading into the tournament is how they will fair in some tough weather conditions. While Region 9 teams are used to playing with temperatures in the 80s and 90s, they’ll get a big wake-up call as they begin play in the 40s with a “high” coming in the low 50s.
“We are going to have to make sure we bring our rain gear,” Bergeson said half-jokingly. “Before we leave we are going to put on a bunch of clothes early in the morning and practice hitting some balls to get us used to some of the conditions we will play in. But we’ll be ready. The boys have been focused all year for this moment and now it’s time to go and see what they can do. It’s been such a fun year and everyone is everyone is just so excited for State.”