Miners could make it a decade of dominance in 2017
Murphy focused on individual players, not state titles
August 4, 2017
It's tough not to mention the streak of championships won — including last year's UHSAA 3A crown — when talking about the Park City High School boys' golf team.
Winners of nine-straight titles and hoping to complete a decade of dominance, the Miners head into the 2017 season as the favorites, despite being bumped up to the 4A classification for the first time.
Other coaches and players may talk about the team's accomplishments, but head coach George Murphy said all of that is in the past.
"I'm not even talking about [a state championship] yet," Murphy said. "It's pretty insignificant. It's a cool thing, but it's also a new crop of kids. … It's about this year and working on their games individually. Be supportive of each other and do what they can to put our team in that position again."
Park City, who finished up its last round of tryouts on Thursday morning, will come into the year with a good amount of depth and experience, but not any star golfers. But if last year taught the rest of the state anything, it's that the Miners don't need one, or two, dominant golfers at the top, because the entire lineup has the ability to finish as Park City's best golfer.
The Miners will lose Cole Lee and Josh Lansky, both pivotal seniors on last year's team, but they return much more. Zane Schemmer, the top scorer for Park City at last year's state championships, and Jack Hanskat return as senior team leaders, while sophomore Eli Kimche and junior Dean Tsandes make it four returning Miners of last year's six-member state team.
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Sophomores Jack Wright and Parker Cutt will also return. Both competed at state as individuals last year. The two will create a depth similar to last year's squad, Murphy said.
"All these kids that are returning, they all posted scores for us at state," Murphy said. "They know how it feels. They were able to handle that kind of pressure at state. That's a ways off, but that is our goal heading in; just slowly prep throughout the season and get their game in shape for the state tournament."
The golfers at Park City have worked all summer to fine tune their games, with some competing in local amateur tournaments. It's a good thing, too, as the season is one of the first fall prep sports to get underway, when the Miners travel to Ben Lomond — one of its new Region 11 opponents — on Tuesday.
Competing in a new region will provide a new test, but the team will also see some familiar faces. Joining Park City in Region 11 are former region opponents Stansbury and Tooele that also made the jump to 4A this year. The remaining four teams all reside in the Ogden area.
The Miners, who topped every team in the state regardless of classification save Lone Peak (now a 6A school), are prepared for the new challenge.
"I think these guys will compete well in 4A, in this new region," Murphy said. "It's seven teams instead of five [in the region]. That'll be nice to get a little more competitive matches in region play, hopefully.
"We've got some things coming [this season] to keep these guys sharp and prepped, and hopefully they can keep it rolling from what they were doing this summer."
While Murphy and company plan to stay away from a conversation about a state championship for the time being, it's almost impossible for the players not to realize what's at stake, Murphy said. For the last nine years, the Miners have heard their names called as state champions, and this year's group hopes to carry on the team's legacy.
"It's fun to be part of a program that's been put together and has sustained some success over the years," Murphy said. "These guys just want to keep that going for the kids that came before them. A lot of these kids have been chomping at the bit to be on the high school team for years. They grew up watching these other guys do what they did, so it's fun."
The quest for another state title begins on Tuesday, Aug. 8, at Ben Lomond Golf Course, a nine-hole course. Each golfer will run through the course twice in order to get an 18-hole score. The match is scheduled to start at 10 a.m.