Miners go for nine straight at state championships
September 30, 2016
The word dominant doesn't even begin to describe the Park City High School boys' golf team. Winners of eight consecutive state titles, it's no secret that the Miners have been the team to beat for the better part of the last decade, and that remains the same this season.
Next week, Park City puts its unblemished 2016 record, which includes another Region 10 title, along with its streak of winning state championships on the line when it participates in this year's UHSAA 3A state tournament. Heading into it, the Miners, who finished region play 184 strokes better than the next-best team, are feeling confident they can make it nine in a row.
"We've had some really good practice days since our region tournament," said Head Coach George Murphy. "They're going into it feeling pretty good where their game is. These boys are playing the best golf they have all season. That's what we love to see out of the two-week build-up before state."
The two-day state tournament on Oct. 5-6 will take place at Soldier Hollow, a course that this Park City team has grown familiar with. Not only was the Region 10 tournament conducted there a week and a half ago, but the Miners have gotten to practice on the course in Midway as recently as this last week, where they played 18 holes, according to Murphy.
"They are very comfortable right now with the course," Murphy added.
All season long, Park City has boasted one of the deepest teams in the state, and even in its own illustrious program history. With eight players that finished in the top 10 of Region 10, the top six counted scores for the Miners rotated among them nearly every match.
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This forced Murphy to make a difficult decision, as only six golfers' scores are counted for the overall team score, meaning the head coach had to pick six of the near-evenly-matched eight golfers to compete for the Miners in the upcoming tournament. The remaining two, meanwhile, would still be allowed to participate in the individual portion of the tournament.
The six golfers that will be representing Park City in the team portion of the state tournament will be Zane Schemmer, Dean Tsandes, Cole Lee, Jack Hanskat, Josh Lansky and Eli Kimche. The two golfers participating as individuals will be Jack Wright and Parker Cutt.
While everyone wants to be on the state team, Murphy believes that the opportunity to compete at the state tournament level — team or individual — is invaluable for all of the members of his team.
"It was hard to decide who was going to go and who was not," Murphy said. "That's great for our team, especially for them as individuals, but [also] down the road next year when they are on the state team. They just got more experience, what it's like, the feel for state. Being on the practice squad for the two weeks leading up to it, it's nice to have them around and kind of getting that experience. It'll bode well for them next season."
Heading into the biggest week of the season as the defending state champion for the last eight years, the public opinion builds certain expectations for the Miners, creating a sense of pressure. But for Murphy and company, there's no pressure. To them, "It's golf. It's not life and death."
"Pressure? I don't know if they feel a huge amount of pressure," Murphy said. "I told them, 'Hey, it is what it is. Instead, of pressure, just be confident in what you're doing. Know that you have the ability and capability to shoot the scores you've been shooting all year leading into state. Just keep it going and look forward to even more golf after the season is over.'"
Day 1 of the 3A State Tournament will start with the first pairing teeing off at 9:30 a.m. from Soldier Hollow.
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