PROVO — A year ago the Ridgeline girls golf team finished sixth at the state tournament.
The Riverhawks were happy, but not satisfied. The exact same lineup of girls went to work to do better when the 4A Girls Golf State Championships began on Wednesday at East Bay Golf Course.
Oh boy did they accomplish that and then some.
After taking the lead into the clubhouse after the first day, the Riverhawks did not let pressure get to them on the second and final day, In fact, Ridgeline improved on its narrow six-stroke lead and claimed its first state championship in girls golf.
The Riverhawks finished with a two-day team score of 662, 13 strokes better than second-place Park City (675). Desert Hills, which had won nine straight state titles, was third at 683.
“Desert Hills had won nine straight championships and embarrassed us the last couple of years.” Ridgeline head coach Dan Roskelley said. “Our girls went to state with no real expectations and performed beautifully under the most pressure. They had their lowest round of the year at the most important time.”
On Day 2, the Riverhawks improved their team score by 10 strokes.
“The impressive thing is how they all contributed and how they won from in front, leading the first day and expanding that lead the last day,” Roskelley said. “Winning at all says they are good players and winning with the lead means they have character as well. What a fun group to be around.”
Region 12 medalist Alexis Wilson led the way, finishing second individually. After an even-par round of 72 on Wednesday, the senior shot a 3-over-par 75 on Thursday for a two-day total of 147, She also finished second a year ago.
“The past two days were a grind, really,” Wilson said. “I struggled off the tee both days, and I had to make up for it in my short game. I just had a lot of putts that didn’t fall. I had a lot nice recoveries, which helped a lot. It was really a grind until the end.”
Lehi’s Lila Galea’i was the medalist as she went under par both days for a total of 138. She and Wilson tied for second in 2018.
Mak Tenhoeve had a great round Thursday. The senior made the turn at even par and finished the day with a 79 and a two-day total of 162, which was good enough for eighth place individually.
“I can’t even describe how happy I am.” Tenhoeve said. “I could not imagine a better season. It’s crazy to even think we actually won state. I am so proud of my team and what they have accomplished.”
Most of the Riverhawks improved on the second day. Alyssa Buist finished in 15th place with a 172, while Sara Fujimoto was 20th at 182. Lucy Lyons tied for 25th at 188, and Eryn Hendricks finished with a 194 total.
“Coming into state, all of us were a little nervous, but excited,” Tenhoeve said. “I think we all had the right mindset going in and that helped a lot. We put so much time and effort coming into state, and it really paid off. We each push each other to be better, and that is why I love my team so much.”
The Riverhawks dominated Region 12 and kept their goal of doing well at state. They didn’t talk about it much, but certainly wanted to do well.
“All season we would joke about winning state, but then yesterday when we were in first, we started to realize we could actually do this,” Tenhoeve said. “Dan (Roskelley) told us to come out and not worry about the results, and to just play our game. That’s what we did. … It’s so crazy to end my high school career as a state champion.”
There was some pressure at times on Thursday as Park City and Desert Hills made some bold moves, but each time the Riverhawks calmly went about getting the job done and staying consistent.
“Park City and Desert Hills were serious competitors, but once we have our mind on something, it’s hard to change that mindset,” Tenhoeve said.
“A lesson I’ve learned over the years in golf and most other things is that the less you worry about the outcome and the more you concentrate on the task at hand, the more likely you are to have a good result,” Roskelly said.
The Riverhawks let the other teams worry about catching them and brought home the championship trophy.
Bear River finished in seventh place in the team competition. Bear River’s Rheagan Hartfiel finished in a three-way tie for ninth place with a two-day total of 163.