The start of a new high school sports season always comes with plenty of optimism and dreams of competing at the state tournament.
For Tooele County’s three high school boys golf teams, there are plenty of high hopes. Grantsville hopes to be competitive in a new region, while a young-but-experienced Tooele team looks to battle Park City for the top spot in Region 11 and Class 4A and Stansbury’s rebuilding squad has a chance to be something special as well.
“I’m really excited — I really am,” said first-year Grantsville coach Rick Harrison. “They’re working really hard right now and I think we’re going to be OK.”
Grantsville will compete in Class 3A’s Region 13 this season, a league that also includes Morgan, Judge Memorial, South Summit and Summit Academy. Though Judge and Morgan figure to be among the top teams in 3A, along with Richfield, North Sanpete and defending Class 2A champion Grand County, the Cowboys expect to compete for a spot at the state tournament.
“The change absolutely helps us,” Harrison said. “I think we’ll actually get better. Experiencing some success — I think the kids will start to play better. They’ll start to see that they have a chance to be successful and they have a chance to get to state.”
Brock May is Grantsville’s top player going into the 2017 season. The team also will look to Brody Barney, Jake Cafarelli, Jake Hammond and Ben Warner to step up, as well as Weston Tuckett, Tanner Hammond, Robbie McNeil and Scott May. The Cowboys will be without would-be No. 2 player Andrew Dalton, who underwent wrist surgery.
Tooele, which will join county rival Stansbury in Class 4A’s Region 11 with Park City, Ben Lomond, Bonneville and Ogden, has no seniors this season, but has plenty of big-tournament experience. The Buffaloes finished eighth in last year’s state tournament, and all three of their top players — juniors Bridger Holmes and Tegan Robison and sophomore Peyton Thevenot — are back this year.
“We’re looking really good,” Tooele coach Brady Christensen said. “Park City’s still the team to beat. They’re going to be really good again, but we’re going to compete with them this year.”
Christensen said this year’s team has more depth, with three or four players competing for the No. 4 spot. In years past, the Buffs have struggled to find a player who can give them a fourth score in the 70s, instead shooting in the high 80s.
Stansbury coach Tom Costello said his team comes into the season young and inexperienced. Six of the Stallions’ top eight players from the 2016 season are gone, and many of the remaining players don’t have much — if any — competitive golf experience.
“We’re going to have to do a lot more on the lesson tee than just playing every day,” Costello said.
Costello is excited about incoming freshman Jackson Ray, as well as returning junior Brady Kimberling and Dallin Lamb.
Stansbury and Tooele will open their season Tuesday at a Region 11 match at El Monte Golf Club in Ogden, the home course for Ben Lomond High School. Grantsville’s season begins with a Region 13 match Thursday at Oquirrh Hills Golf Course.