state golf

Sky View's Hayden Kleven hits his tee shot on the 6th hole during the 4A state golf tournament at Birch Creek Golf Course in 2018.

When it comes to boys high school golf in Cache County, it has been highly competitive for some time.

However, Sky View has been the team to beat of late. The Bobcats have captured a handful of region titles the past few years and have finished among at least the top four at state the last three seasons — even competing at the 5A level one year.

With the season already underway, it’s looking like that trend will continue. The Bobcats are off to a strong start once again, picking up right where they left off a year ago.

“I know that all the teams want to beat the Bobcats, but the Bobcats’ goal is to finish first in all region matches,” SV head coach Eric Kleven said. “... This region looks great this year, but our goal does not change. We want to win the region.”

The Bobcat coach went on to list the other five schools in the region as teams to beat, including Bear River, which has been consistent over the years and always near the top. In the first region tournament a week ago, the top five schools were within 16 strokes of each other. The top four individual scores from each school count toward the team score.

The top five teams qualify for state. Points are earned at each region tournament, with points doubled at the region championship.

Now a look at the valley schools in Region 11.

SKY VIEW

The rest of the region is probably glad to see that Ryan Seamons is finally a senior. He has made the varsity roster since he was a freshman, and the past two years has been among the best golfers in the 4A ranks.

Seamons, the defending region medalist, tied for third individually last year at state and was second as a sophomore. He has had a successful summer and got off to a great start in the region opener.

The Bobcats’ 1-2 punch includes another top finisher at state the past few years. Hayden Kleven tied for sixth in 2018 and tied for ninth in 2017 as a member of the Ridgeline team. In 2016, he was a member of the Riverhawks’ team that took fourth at state.

The Bobcats were third in the state in ’18, fourth in ’17 and second in ’16 as a 5A school. They lost three players who contributed at the varsity level in Spencer Sickler, Jace Wright and Karsten Hartle.

However, there are a host of Bobcats vying for varsity spots. Tyler Hoggan, Logan Cromwell, Braden Alder, Spencer Sadler, Chase Sparrow, Jaxon Rasmussen, Memphis Checketts, Parker Robbins, Ethan McKay, Jex Swenson, Chandler Luthi and Hayden Howell all want to earn a spot with Seamons and Kleven. Only eight get to be on varsity squad during the region season, and just six make the trip to state.

Cromwell, Alder and Sadler helped Sky View place first in the opening region tournament. Coach Kleven expects Howell, a freshman, to make some noise by the end of the season.

“I know that all the teams have a goal to beat the Bobcats, so this great for me as I continue working on preparation so our team is ready for each match,” coach Kleven said. “It will be a great season of fall boys golf in 2019.”

RIDGELINE

In the Riverhawks’ first two years of existence as a school, they had some strong showings at state in boys golf. Ridgeline finished fourth in ’16 at the 3A level and, after moving up to 4A in ’17, took fourth.

Last year was a different story. The Riverhawks didn’t even make it to state.

Under new coaches, Ridgeline is looking to bounce back. Sam Lindley will be the head coach and get help from Cam Thomas.

“As first-year coaches, myself and Cam Thomas are excited to work with such a group of talented, young golfers,” Lindley said. “... The finish Ridgeline had last year in region wasn’t what we were hoping for. This year we have a well-balanced team with an even mix of seniors, juniors and sophomores, and a very strong freshman class.”

Lindley feels different players will step forward and be among the top four at any given match. In the opener, Beckham Johansen and Zach Skinner led the team, followed closely by Carson Denniston and Jacob Mann, who has been around and experienced the good seasons with the Riverhawks. Also competing on varsity in the opener were Scotty Jeppson, Isaac Peterson, Cooper Gunnell and Austin Pond.

Also in the mix are Chase Allen, Fletcher Hamblin and Jackson Stokes.

LOGAN

The Grizzlies are one of those teams coach Kleven was talking about. Logan has been to state and done well, finishing second in ’16. They are hungry to climb up the ladder.

“We have everyone back,” LHS head coach Josh Zentner said. “We have some high expectations. ... Sky View is the one to beat, but I would like to see us competing for a region title.”

Logan finished 12th last year at state. All six golfers that competed for the Grizzlies are back, like Zentner said.

Leading the way is Jake Anderson, Anthon Woolley, Paul Miller, Max Leishman and Mason Hale. Porter Seamons was also on that state team a year ago. Adding depth are Ty Anderson, Kobe Larsen, Matthew Anderson, Carter Markworth, Jack Leishman and Chase Wright.

Jake Anderson and Woolley led the team with top 10 finishes in the first region outing.

GREEN CANYON

The Wolves turned some heads in ’18. In just their second year of existence, they finished seventh at state.

But Green Canyon will be without some steady players who have graduated in Dewey Panter, Mason Hawkins and Ryan Jeppson. The 2019 squad will be led by seniors Jordan Alder and Gage Halverson.

Head coach Terrell Baldwin is steering his team to peak at the right time in order to play well at the region tournament, make it to state and do well there again. The Wolves have some talented players who could help them make a push for the top half of the league standings.

Sophomore Abe Olson did well in the last outing, as did Oliver Adams. Junior Jace Blotter came on strong at the end of last year and will be joined on the varsity squad by junior Kenden Blotter and senior Nick McKenna. Adding depth are Jacob Thurgood, Miles Matthews and Jaxon Berry.

“The Wolves will be battling for a spot in the top end of the region,” Baldwin said. “The favorite in the league is going to be the returning champs, the Sky View Bobcats.”

MOUNTAIN CREST

The Mustangs got off to a rough start in the opener, but still have the goal of qualifying for state.

“I think the region is very competitive,” MC head coach Chandler Smith said. “Our goal is to make it to state as a team. We have four players that can get us there, but it’s not going to be easy. ... I think everyone will be chasing Sky View.”

Seniors Lance Fristrup, Carsen Skinner and Cooper Murphy, along with sophomore Conner Leishman have been the top four Mustangs so far this season. Fristrup qualified for state as an individual a year ago and made it to the second day. Leishman has been turning some heads.

“Conner Leishman has a lot of potential and has been playing really well,” Smith said. “He has a very bright future ahead of him.”

Mountain Crest lost three-year varsity player Dillan Crystal to graduation, but others have been showing improvement. Zach Fricke, Conner Cooper, Isaac Nelson and Nash Cooper round out the varsity squad as of now.

 

Shawn Harrison is the sports editor at The Herald Journal. He can be reached at sharrison@hjnews.com or 435-792-7233.