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Dealing with a tumultuous year in 2020 has forced a lots of adaptation.

Behind all of the frustrations, disappointments, anxieties and disruptions have been valuable lessons \u2014 if only everyone is smart enough to find them.

That has definitely been the case for Utah Valley high school athletes, who have had to face plenty of challenges beyond just what they face in the normal course of competition as the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted just about everything.

But they have done it.

It has rarely been straightforward and certainly not been easy, but the boys and girls, coaches and administrators have found ways to navigate through the obstacles that have been in their way.

This holiday season is a time of hope, a time to look toward the future.

So here is a list of wishes for all of those participants as they get ready for a great 2021:

Moments to enjoy

It\u2019s been one of the most oft-repeated refrains of the year as players and coaches have talked constantly about enjoying every moment.

From the last spring sports games before everything shut down to the cobbled together contests in June to the uncertainty of the fall and winter, everyone had to make the most of what they had.

This pandemic has taught everyone that \u2014 regardless of outcome \u2014 doing what you love is precious and should be treasured because you do not know for certain if it will be taken away.

This wish is that everyone will continue to remember that lesson for years to come.

Unifying experiences

So often the world is portrayed as being divided by different qualifiers. If a team lets itself be divided, however, it is almost certainly doomed to fail.

Instead players and coaches have to focus on shared goals and the importance of common ground. Each individual on a team brings their own strengths and weaknesses to the table but together they can be so much stronger.

Stressful situations force teams to rely even more on each other, a lesson hopefully these athletes will carry into their homes and communities throughout their lives.

Valuable sacrifices

When the state of Utah started testing high school football players in preparation for the state semifinals, it was thought that the rate of positive COVID-19 tests would likely be 25% or more. Instead it was closer to 3%.

While that may surprise some, anyone who has been around high school athletes know they understand the value of making sacrifices to achieve bigger goals. They were willing to take the steps to limit their risks with the virus and were rewarded by playing their games.

On the other hand, one of the biggest sacrifices was made by all of the spring sports participants as they gave up their season for the good of their community. No, that wasn\u2019t what they wanted but their sacrifice was tremendously valuable.

Hopefully all of the athletes have realized that giving up something good for something better is something that will benefit them throughout their entire lives.

Appreciation for relationships

In a time when players have been separated because of shutdowns and quarantines, they have had to turn to their teammates for their support system.

Some gathered on car tailgates in parking lots while socially distanced, while others put together text message groups or found other ways to communicate.

Players need to be able to rely on those around them when things get tough and this wish is hoping they never forget to have a support base and to be a part of the support base of others.

Hope for the future

It\u2019s so easy to get down after a loss or after a tough year. Sometimes the negatives feel overwhelming.

But one of the most important lessons that sports teaches is resiliency. There will be another game, another opportunity, something else to work for, a reason to keep pushing to improve.

After a year that has demanded as much as 2020 demanded of Utah Valley student-athletes, the importance of hope for 2021 and beyond is impossible to quantify.

This final wish is that the players, coaches, administrators, officials, parents and fans will be able to tap into that hope during this holiday season, that they will be able to keep their eyes looking forward to the great things that are to come.

Happy Holidays!

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The biggest challenge the Cedar Valley boys golf team faced on the second day of the 4A state tournament at Meadowbrook golf course in Taylorsville Thursday wasn\u2019t the course or the other golf teams.

It was their own high level of performance from Day 1.

The Aviators put together a phenomenal round on Wednesday as three of the golfers shot their best scores of the year to propel the team to its lowest total of any tournament in 2020.

That proved to be tough to maintain in the two-day event, however, and Cedar Valley\u2019s scored reflected that. The Aviators finished sixth in Class 4A, well back of the top team from Crimson Cliffs.

Even though there were ups and downs, Cedar Valley head coach Nate Crandall said that he was very pleased with how the Aviators performed.

\u201cWhen you take it as a whole, it was great for us to do as well as we did,\u201d Crandall said. \u201cWe had four kids who had never played at state and then we went out and shot our best round of the year on Wednesday. It was going to be a challenge to back that up but I thought we did well.\u201d

Leading the way for Cedar Valley was senior Tristen McKinney, who shot a two-day total of 149 (5-over-par) to tie for 10th place.

\u201cHe\u2019s been a lot of fun to coach,\u201d Crandall said. \u201cHe\u2019s been with me for four years, two at Westlake and then two at Cedar Valley. He was first-team all-state this year. He works hard, he loves his teammates and leads by example.\u201d

McKinney and senior Anthony Price were the two golfers on the team who were finishing their career in 2020, meaning the Aviators overall are a young squad.

\u201cThe goal for us was to learn and grow, to take advantage of the experience,\u201d Crandall said. \u201cWe will have Landon Dunn (a junior who finished tied for 12th with a score of 150) back next year who will have played four rounds at state. We have a lot to build on. We had two juniors, a sophomore and a freshman out here. They are going to have a lot of opportunities going forward.\u201d

Cedar Valley was the only Region 10 team who made it through to the second day of the 4A tournament, although the Aviators just missed out on winning the region title during the regular season.

Crandall said the story of the year for his squad was consistent improvement.

\u201cMcKinney made so much improvement and it showed up in his consistency,\u201d Crandall said. \u201cHe was much more consistent this year. Landon moved up from being our No. 5 or No. 6 to being a solid No. 2. We saw guys make improvement all year long. I feel like everyone made improvements in one way or another.\u201d

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The Cedar Valley boys golf team knew that it would be tough to challenge some of the powerhouse teams in Class 4A for the 2020 state title but the Aviators came out determined to give it their best shot.

On the first day of action in the 4A tournament at Meadowbrook golf course in Taylorsville on Wednesday, Cedar Valley put together a solid round to come in fourth with a score of 307 (19-over-par)

Leading the way for the Aviators is senior Tristan McKinney, who fired a 71 (1-under-par) to put himself in a tie for fifth. He sits four strokes behind Crimson Cliffs senior Luke Schone, who leads the field with a 67 (5-under-par).

McKinney had a few ups and downs during his round as he tallied three birdies on his first 10 holes but gave those strokes back with three bogeys. He capped his round with a birdie on his final hole, the par-5 Hole No. 9, to stay within striking distance in the medalist competition.

Cedar Valley also got counting scores from junior Landon Dunn (73, 1-over-par), sophomore Mason Whiting (81, 9-over-par) and senior Anthony Price (82, 10-over-par).

Crimson Cliffs leads the team competition by 24 strokes over second-place Desert Hills.

The Aviators and the rest of the 4A golfers who made the cut will conclude the tournament with the second round at Meadowbrook golf course in Taylorsville starting at 9 a.m. on Thursday.

Football games canceled

Thursday\u2019s Region 10 football game at Mountain View between the Bruins and Cedar Valley has been canceled due to COVID-19 precautions at Mountain View.

Orem already had Thursday\u2019s Region 7 home game against Mountain Ridge canceled for the same reason but was hoping to find a replacement game.

4A, 3A girls soccer brackets set

Utah Valley girls soccer teams who compete in the 4A and 3A classifications found out where they would be slotted in their respective state tournaments on Wednesday.

In the 4A ranks, Cedar Valley secured the No. 8 seed and will host No. 9 seed Sky View in their first game (officially a second-round matchup) in Eagle Mountain on Oct. 14 at 4 p.m.

The winner of the Aviator/Bobcat matchup will head to Ogden to take on the top-seeded defending champs on Oct. 17.

In Class 3A, Maeser Prep ended up as the No. 12 seed and will get a first round bye before the Lions head on the road to take on No. 5-seed Richfield on Oct. 14 at 4 p.m.

ALA was slotted at the No. 17 seed and will play at No. 16 Grand County on Oct. 10 at 1 p.m. with the winner playing at No. 1-seed Manti on Oct. 14.

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When an opponent makes a big charge, many coaches of high school teams might call a timeout or at least gather the squad together to rally the athletes.

That\u2019s not really possible in high school golf, however, since the competitors are spread over dozens of acres of grass on the golf course.

When Davis made a big push and virtually erased Lone Peak\u2019s five-stroke lead early in Tuesday\u2019s second round of the 6A state tournament on the Gold course at Soldier Hollow golf course in Heber, Knight head coach Chad Christofferson needed his boys to respond.

\u201cYesterday we came out hot and we had a huge lead, which I was a little bit worried about,\u201d Christofferson said. \u201cWe knew the other teams would be ready. We needed everyone\u2019s scores. There was one time we were down by a stroke and I was like, \u2018well, we\u2019ll see if they can do it.\u2019 Every single one of them pulled it together and it was awesome.\u201d

The Lone Peak golfers answered the call, coming on strong down the stretch to hold off the Darts by shooting a 562 (14-under-par) to get the four-stroke win. In doing so, the Knights won their 10th overall state title, their third straight and their seventh in eight years.

\u201cWhen we came in as freshmen, we were determined to win at least three state titles,\u201d Lone Peak senior Brandon Ashworth said. \u201cThat was our goal and we did it. It was a great feeling for us five to all play well at state and get the job done.\u201d

Ashworth\u2019s teammate, senior Parker Reese, said the last four years with this group has been a blast.

\u201cWe\u2019ve all become best friends, even outside golf,\u201d Reese said. \u201cWe do everything together. We\u2019re really tight as a team, so it\u2019s been really fun.\u201d

Perhaps those bonds were what made it possible for the Knights to come together and pick up their game when they had to in order to secure the win, even though they were at different holes throughout the course.

\u201cI\u2019m so proud of everyone,\u201d Reese said. \u201cComing down the stretch, to see us be clutch. I think we played the last four holes 5 or 6-under-par. That was awesome to see us all do that.\u201d

Ashworth said he wasn\u2019t certain just how close Davis was as he was finishing out his round.

\u201cComing down the stretch, my coaches wouldn\u2019t tell me where we were at but I knew we were really close,\u201d Ashworth said. \u201cI birdied three of my last four holes. I knew I needed to go deep for us to win and then we all went deep down the stretch.\u201d

The moment that will likely stand out in the memories of many of the Knights was when Ashworth faced a tough downhill birdie putt on No. 18.

\u201cIt was great,\u201d Ashworth said. \u201cClark Jones told me that it was really close and we needed that putt, to just drip-speed it in and not hammer it by. I had a good line and had drip-speed when I hit it. I just wanted it to go a little and it dropped. It was a really good feeling.\u201d

The rest of the Lone Peak team was watching from the edge of the green and erupted in cheers as the ball hit the bottom of the cup.

\u201cWe\u2019re going to remember that forever,\u201d Reese said. \u201cIt was awesome to see him make that putt. He\u2019s worked so hard all year and hasn\u2019t seen the results. It was great to see him do at state.\u201d

That birdie capped off a two-day showing of 139 (5-under-par) which put him in a tie for second place, one stroke behind Corner Canyon senior Cayson Wright.

\u201cIt is big, for sure,\u201d Ashworth said. \u201cIt\u2019s a great way to cap off my senior year, especially with all the hard work I put in this year. I\u2019m more glad we won as a team but it was definitely a plus that I took second.\u201d

Lone Peak also got solid performances from senior Evan Lawrence and sophomore Cooper Jones, who tied for 10th by shooting 142 (2-under-par), while Reese and senior Gunnar Christofferson finished tied for 13th with even-par 144s.

Chad Christofferson said he felt like the victory was one that was earned by the entire Knight squad, even though only six golfers could compete.

\u201cIt was awesome because they deserve it,\u201d Chad Christofferson said. \u201cThey went every day and competed against the best talent possible \u2014 and they are the best talent. We have 12 kids who can shoot in the mid-70s, so those qualifiers are tough. The younger group pushed the upperclassmen and that\u2019s why we were able to do what we were able to do.\u201d

He also wanted to make sure that credit for the longevity of the Lone Peak boys golf dominance went to the right people.

\u201cThere are two guys who laid the foundation for all of this: Clark Jones and Rob Stanger,\u201d Chad Christofferson said. \u201cRob was the coach for quite a few years and Clark has helped me all year and has been a huge part of it. Between those two, they have created a dynasty with golf for the last 10 years.\u201d

Two other Utah Valley golfers also made the Top 5 as Pleasant Grove junior Josh Savage and Skyridge senior Carter Frisby both ended up at 140 (4-under-par) and tied for fourth.

In the team competition, Skyridge ended up fifth while American Fork came in sixth.

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Heading into Tuesday\u2019s second round of the 5A state boys golf tournament, Spanish Fork knew that first and second place were likely out of reach but that the Dons would be in a battle for the third position.

So Spanish Fork came out ready to compete.

\u201cWe knew it was a course we could attack,\u201d Don head coach Jordan Rogers said. \u201cThe greens weren\u2019t fast. They were soft and receptive, so we were on attack mode and looking to make birdies. I thought we stuck to a good game plan and it was awesome.\u201d

The aggressiveness paid off as Spanish Fork posted the second-best team scored of the day with a 284 (4-under-par) on the Silver course at Soldier Hollow golf course in Heber.

That was what the Dons needed to hold on to the third spot with a two-day total of 574 (2-under-par), although in other years it might have been enough to bring home the title.

\u201cIn most years, if you look back at tournaments on the Silver course, what we shot has won,\u201d Rogers said. \u201cI\u2019m proud of my guys for sure.\u201d

This year, however, Skyline (541, 35-under-par) and Park City (561, 14-under-par) were simply too good for the rest of the field to match.

Spanish Fork was led by sophomore Jackson Rhees, who shot a 139 (5-under-par) to come in fifth.

\u201cWhat I want to talk about with Jackson is what he does from February, right when the snow melts, all the way through,\u201d Rogers said. \u201cIt pays off when it matters. This is his second straight year being in the Top 5.\u201d

Lehi sophomore KJ Ofanhengaue tied for seventh with a score of 141 (3-under-par), while Timpview senior Nathan Giles and Wasatch senior Tyson Clyde tied for 10th with scores of 143 (1-under-par).

Rogers said that while the team and individual successes are great, in this year of turmoil because of the COVID-19 pandemic everyone was a winner because they got to compete.

\u201cThe fact that we had a season and basically no one sat out and they got to play golf every day after school, that was big,\u201d Rogers said. \u201cIt was important for their emotional well-being. I\u2019m happy they got to finish the year.\u201d

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Timpanogos senior Joey Hadfield faced one of the toughest 18-inch putts of his life at Soldier Hollow golf course in Heber Monday afternoon.

No, it wasn\u2019t for a state title or individual recognition. It was to break 80 on the first day of the two-day 5A state boys golf tournament and get a chance to come back for Day 2.

\u201cMy heart was pounding out of my chest,\u201d Hadfield said. \u201cIt was tough.\u201d

Since he had a double-bogey on Hole No. 8 (his 17th hole of the round) on the Silver course, he knew he had to be aggressive on the final hole.

\u201cI knew in order to make it to the next day I would have to birdie the last hole,\u201d Hadfield said. \u201cI went all in and took a lot of risks.\u201d

He appeared to have a good shot at making an eagle on the par-5 but his long putt refused to drop, leaving him with work to do and nerves to fight.

In the end, however, he trusted his stroke and found the bottom of the cup.

\u201cFortunately I made it and get to come back tomorrow,\u201d Hadfield said. \u201cToday was a little disappointing but it means the world to make it to the second day for the first time with it being my senior year. I hope to go play better tomorrow. I want to be aggressive and hopefully come out with a decent score.\u201d

The first day of the 5A and 6A state boys golf tournaments was about high school golfers making the most of opportunities and putting themselves in position to reach their goals.

While the goal of Hadfield was to reach Day 2, the powerhouse Lone Peak boys golf team was shooting for another run at a 6A title.

\u201cWe all wanted to play our best for each other, to go out and have fun,\u201d Knight senior Brandon Ashworth said. \u201cMost of us are seniors, so we wanted to finish off the year with a bang. We wanted to play a really great round and most of us did that, so it was a great day.\u201d

Ashworth tied with fellow senior Evan Lawrence to lead Lone Peak by shooting 69 (3-under-par) on the day.

\u201cI didn\u2019t get off to the best start but then I got it going on about Hole No. 4 and 5,\u201d Ashworth said. \u201cI got to 5-under-par but I missed a 2-footer for par. But I saved it and was grinding on the back. It was a good round.\u201d

That score put Ashworth and Lawrence in a tie for third in the 6A individual competition.

Their scores, as well as those of senior Gunnar Christofferson (70, 2-under-par) and sophomore Cooper Jones (71, 1-under-par) propelled the Knights to the top of the leaderboard with a team score of 279. Lone Peak holds a five-stroke lead over second-place Davis.

With so many good scores, Ashworth knows he might be competing with his teammates for medalist honors.

\u201cTomorrow will be fun though,\u201d Ashworth said. \u201cIt would be huge for me to win. It would boost my confidence a lot and would be a great way to end my senior year of golf.\u201d

The Knights will by chasing Layton senior Tysen Diaz, who shot a 65 (7-under-par) for the lowest score of the day.

In Class 5A, Lehi sophomore KJ Ofahengaue had the best showing of Utah Valley golfers on Day 1 as he shot a 68 (4-under-par) on the Silver course. That put him in sixth place, three strokes behind Skyline senior Tyson Shelley.

In the 5A team competition, Skyline appears to be in control with Park City in second. The battle for third place, however, should be a good one.

Spanish Fork shot a 290 as a team on Day 1, putting the Dons one stroke ahead of Olympus and three strokes ahead of Lehi heading into the final round.

The second day of action for both the 5A and 6A state tournaments will take place at Soldier Hollow golf course in Heber on Tuesday, with the 5A competition taking place on the Silver course while the 6A golfers will again tackle the Gold course.

For complete details and tee times, go to http://UHSAA.org.

"}, {"id":"8470b442-c367-52d9-8bc9-c3d748200e49","type":"article","starttime":"1600974000","starttime_iso8601":"2020-09-24T13:00:00-06:00","priority":50,"sections":[{"boys":"sports/high-school/golf/boys"},{"lehi-pioneers":"sports/high-school/schools/lehi-pioneers"},{"mountain-view-bruins":"sports/high-school/schools/mountain-view-bruins"},{"orem-tigers":"sports/high-school/schools/orem-tigers"},{"timpanogos-timberwolves":"sports/high-school/schools/timpanogos-timberwolves"},{"timpview-thunderbirds":"sports/high-school/schools/timpview-thunderbirds"}],"application":"editorial","title":"Lehi boys golf wins Region 7 title, teams prep for 5A tournament","url":"http://www.heraldextra.com/sports/high-school/golf/boys/article_8470b442-c367-52d9-8bc9-c3d748200e49.html","permalink":"https://www.heraldextra.com/sports/high-school/golf/boys/lehi-boys-golf-wins-region-7-title-teams-prep-for-5a-tournament/article_8470b442-c367-52d9-8bc9-c3d748200e49.html","canonical":"https://www.heraldextra.com/sports/high-school/golf/boys/lehi-boys-golf-wins-region-7-title-teams-prep-for-5a-tournament/article_8470b442-c367-52d9-8bc9-c3d748200e49.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":3,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"By Brian E. 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Timpanogos won the last Region 7 match held at Sleepy Ridge Wednesday but Lehi took home the ultimate prize as the top team over the season of competition.

Lehi built up an early lead, but when its top golfer Helaman Ofahengaue went down with an injury at the Utah State Amateur, the Pioneers struggled a bit in the last four matches. But Lehi\u2019s early dominance was enough for the Pioneers to claim the Region 7 gold trophy because Helaman\u2019s younger brother KJ Ofahengaue stepped up to lead the team and be the top medalist golfer in the league.

\u201cHelaman going down really hurt us in the last four matches,\u201d Lehi head coach Jason Ingersoll said. \u201cKJ led us. He\u2019s a big leader on our team, and it was a pleasure to watch him step up and become the top medalist.\u201d

Ingersoll said Helaman Ofahengaue will be back to compete at the 5A state tournament which will be held October 5-6 at Soldier Hollow, which will make the Pioneers a formidable force.

KJ Ofahengaue was the individual medalist as well at the Sleepy Ridge event on Wednesday, shooting an even par 72.

\u201cI played really well today,\u201d KJ Ofahengaue said. \u201cI had six birdies and an eagle but I just couldn\u2019t hold on to them (and fell back to even par).\u201d

KJ Ofahengaue was still very happy not only with his round but his overall performance in the region season.

\u201cIt feels great,\u201d KJ Ofahengaue said. \u201cThere\u2019s a lot of competition. Thanks to my Dad and my teammates for pushing me and my favorite coach, Coach Ingy (Ingersoll).\u201d

Another key golfer for the Pioneers was Sean Ackley, who was one of the top 12 medalists recognized by the region. Ackley was the individual medalist two weeks ago at Thanksgiving Point where both Ofahengaue brothers missed the match to compete at the Utah State Amateur.

Ackley finished seventh overall. Other key Lehi team members were Hunter Day, Jaxs Oviatt, Cooper Wight, and McQuire Madsen.

Timpanogos shot the low round at Sleepy Ridge, which helped them secure the other automatic qualifier team position for the 5A state tournament. Each league will get two automatic team qualifiers for eight of the 5A teams. The other eight team qualifiers will be based on a scoring average so Alta, Timpview, and possibly Orem have legitimate shots to make the 16-team field.

Timpanogos golfers Gavin Scott and Carter Papke both fired a 1-over par 73 Wednesday while teammate Noah Moody was one shot behind with a 74. Timpanogos\u2019s most consistent golfer on the season, Joey Hadfield, shot an 80.

All four of these Timberwolf golfers were recognized as individual medalists as Hadfield was fourth overall, Scott fifth, Moody sixth and Papke tenth.

Timpanogos head coach Kim Nelson is very pleased with where his team is heading as it goes into the state tournament.

\u201cWe won the last three (events),\u201d Nelson said. \u201cThe kids have worked hard and got better as we went and you can\u2019t ask for much more than that.\u201d

Nelson said it was definitely good to finish on their home course and stay ahead of Alta, who the Timberwolves had passed two matches ago in the overall team score.

Alta finished just ahead of Timpview for third place but the Thunderbirds have looked stronger in recent matches.

A critical performance was turned in by Timpview freshman Jimmy Hanamaikai, who posted a 3-over par 75 to vault him into 12th place in the medalist standings and earn an automatic qualifying position at the state tournament as an individual if Timpview fails to qualify as a team.

Hanamaikai\u2019s teammate Nathan Gardner shot a 73 at Sleepy Ridge and earned second place overall in the medalist honors and tied for second as well at Sleepy Ridge, while Zack Francom\u2019s score of 82 was good enough for him to earn an 11th place finish overall.

There was also a spectacular moment by Alta\u2019s Elijah Smith who earned an albatross score of two on the Par 5 second hole. Smith also birdied No. 1 to shoot 4-under in that 2-hole stretch. Smith shot a 1-over par 73 to tie for second place overall at the Sleepy Ridge event.

Orem\u2019s Austin Westfall finished tied with Hanamaikai for 12th overall in the medalist standings earning an automatic state qualifier position.

Sleepy Ridge results: 1. Timpanogos, 300. 2. Lehi, 307. 3. Timpview, 310. 4. Alta, 312. 5. Orem, 334. 6. Mountain Ridge, 352. 7. Mountain View, 428.

Top 10 golfers Sleepy Ridge: 1. KJ Ofahengaue (Lehi), 72. T-2. Nate Giles (Timpview), Carter Papke (Timpanogos), Gavin Scott (Timpanogos) and Elijah Smith (Alta), 73. 6. Noah Moody (Timpanogos), 74. 7. Jimmy Hanamaikai (Timpview), 75. 8. Jaxs Oviatt (Lehi), 77. 9. Sean Ackley (Lehi), 78. 10. Aurelius Mlynar (Alta), 79.

Top Teams Overall: 1. Lehi, 1,836. 2. Timpanogos, 1,860. 3. Alta, 1,882. 4. Timpview, 1,890. 5. Orem, 2,008. 6. Mountain Ridge, 2,017. 7. Mountain View, 2,586.

Top 12 medalists (automatic state qualifiers): 1. KJ Ofahengaue (Lehi), 72.0. 2. Nate Giles (Timpview), 75.6, 3. Tyler Fraser (Alta), 76.3. 4. Joey Hadfield (Timpanogos), 76.9. 5. Gavin Scott (Timpanogos), 77.7. 6. Noah Moody (Timpanogos), 78.6. 7. Sean Ackley (Lehi), 79.1. 8. Aurelius Mlynar (Alta), 79.9. 9. Fischer Bradley (Alta), 80.0. 10. Carter Papke (Timpanogos), 80.4. 11. Zack Francom (Timpview), 80.9. T-12. Jimmy Hanamaikai (Timpview) and Austin Westfall (Orem), 81.9.

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Usually more than 60,000 fans fill the stands at LaVell Edwards Stadium for BYU football home games. The plan heading into the week was to allow 6,000 fans for the season opener against Troy on Saturday.

Now there will be zero.

The state of Utah officially moved the Provo and Orem areas to the \u201corange\u201d or moderate-risk designation on Tuesday after the recent spike in COVID-19 cases.

The official moderate restriction guidelines state: \u201cDo not engage in sporting activities where teammates or opponents will be closer than 10 feet from each other.\u201d

In this case, however, the state officially announced an exception allowing team sports to continue in the cities of Provo and Orem but without spectators.

\u201cI want to note that we are granting one exception related to the move to orange in these two areas of Utah County: We will allow team sports to continue, but with no spectators,\u201d Richard Saunders, interim executive director of the Utah Department of Health, said in Tuesday\u2019s press conference. \u201cThe current guidelines of orange do not allow engagement of sports to occur, competitive sports. However, with this exception, they will be able to continue, as I\u2019ve stated, but with no spectators. And that measure is put in place so that we can help influence the spread in the right direction.\u201d

That means that, as of this point, BYU football will still be able to host Troy on Saturday (8:15 p.m. MT, ESPN) and Louisiana Tech on Oct. 2 (7 p.m. MT, ESPN2), but fans won\u2019t be allowed at either contest.

\u201cAt first, I was a little upset because all the players want their families to be at the game to see their son and all the hard work and sacrifice they put in,\u201d BYU junior defensive lineman Lorenzo Fauatea said during Tuesday\u2019s media teleconference. \u201cBut this is the new world we live in now. It\u2019s something we just have to go with it.\u201d

BYU junior linebacker Pepe Tanuvasa said that while it is disappointing to be preparing to play in an empty stadium, the BYU players are still focused on just how fortunate they are to be playing at all.

\u201cI think we were a little disappointed,\u201d Tanuvasa said. \u201cAt the end of the day, we\u2019re just grateful to have the opportunity to play football on Saturday. We are looking ahead to the game, keeping that in mind. There are a lot of teams that still aren\u2019t playing. We\u2019re one of the lucky few who get to suit up and show what we have to offer.\u201d

Cougar defensive coordinator Ilaisa Tuiaki said having fans can make a big difference for a defense but everyone knows they have to deal with the realities of this season.

\u201cIt\u2019s always hard,\u201d Tuiaki said. \u201cYou would like to have a full stadium but this is just the reality we live in, so we\u2019re going to have to deal with it. We\u2019ve been taking the proper precautions and doing our best. Obviously the boys want to play. Anything changes in the public affects us a little bit but we\u2019ve got to take care of ourselves.\u201d

One of the biggest concerns that caused the change in the status for Provo and Orem is the rise in cases among the 16-to-24-year-old age group, which is the same age as the majority of the Cougar football players.

Fauatea said he hopes students can prove they can do better.

\u201cI would just say to be smart with everything going on,\u201d Fauatea said. \u201cWe football players would love to play football but that depends on everything going on around us. I would say be smart and try to think of others.\u201d

According to a press release from BYU, “tickets purchased for the Troy game will be honored for the first home game once the state designation changes to allow BYU to host fans in the stadium. Ticket holders who are interested in receiving a refund for the Troy tickets can email the BYU Ticket Office at http://BYUtickets@byu.edu.”

For the affected high schools (Provo, Timpview, Mountain View, Orem and Timpanogos), home contests in football, girls soccer, volleyball, cross country, girls tennis and boys golf could all be impacted.

Representatives from both Provo City School District and Alpine School District issued statements that spectators will not be allowed at any event at the schools in Provo and Orem but other schools aren\u2019t currently affected.

\u201cFor games outside of Provo, we will work with each location (school) and follow the guidelines in place from the state for that area,\u201d Provo City School District spokesperson Caleb Price said in an email.

Gov. Gary Herbert indicated that all of Utah County could move to \u201corange\u201d status unless the COVID-19 numbers start heading in the right direction, so other area high schools could also end up in a similar situation in coming days or weeks.

"}, {"id":"ac45b9de-3759-5246-a849-8d41339ef7fb","type":"article","starttime":"1599103800","starttime_iso8601":"2020-09-02T21:30:00-06:00","priority":50,"sections":[{"boys":"sports/high-school/golf/boys"},{"lehi-pioneers":"sports/high-school/schools/lehi-pioneers"},{"mountain-view-bruins":"sports/high-school/schools/mountain-view-bruins"},{"orem-tigers":"sports/high-school/schools/orem-tigers"},{"timpanogos-timberwolves":"sports/high-school/schools/timpanogos-timberwolves"},{"timpview-thunderbirds":"sports/high-school/schools/timpview-thunderbirds"}],"application":"editorial","title":"Wind challenges Region 7 golfers at Thanksgiving Point","url":"http://www.heraldextra.com/sports/high-school/golf/boys/article_ac45b9de-3759-5246-a849-8d41339ef7fb.html","permalink":"https://www.heraldextra.com/sports/high-school/golf/boys/wind-challenges-region-7-golfers-at-thanksgiving-point/article_ac45b9de-3759-5246-a849-8d41339ef7fb.html","canonical":"https://www.heraldextra.com/sports/high-school/golf/boys/wind-challenges-region-7-golfers-at-thanksgiving-point/article_ac45b9de-3759-5246-a849-8d41339ef7fb.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":2,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"By Brian E. Preece\nHerald Correspondent","prologue":"Thanksgiving Point golf course provided a stiff challenge for the 53 Region 7 golfers that took to the links Wednesday. Only three golfers in the field were able to break 80 as windy conditions late in the afternoon hampered the players. Lehi, who came into Wednesday\u2019s play with the lead after three previous Region matches, had to go without two of their top players as brothers Helaman and KJ Ofahengaue were competing at the Utah State Amateur.","supportsComments":false,"commentCount":0,"keywords":[],"internalKeywords":[],"customProperties":{},"presentation":null,"images":[{"id":"f04d14b7-7acf-5fdd-a0d6-c862e74a51fd","description":"Lehi's Bryce Lewis tees off at Hole No.6 during the Region 7 golf tournament at Thanksgiving Point golf course on Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2020.","byline":"Brian E. Preece, Herald correspondent","hireswidth":4032,"hiresheight":3024,"hiresurl":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/heraldextra.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/f/04/f04d14b7-7acf-5fdd-a0d6-c862e74a51fd/5f5060305fcdf.hires.jpg","presentation":"","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1662","height":"1247","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/heraldextra.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/f/04/f04d14b7-7acf-5fdd-a0d6-c862e74a51fd/5f50603049cc9.image.jpg?resize=1662%2C1247"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"75","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/heraldextra.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/f/04/f04d14b7-7acf-5fdd-a0d6-c862e74a51fd/5f50603049cc9.image.jpg?resize=100%2C75"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"225","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/heraldextra.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/f/04/f04d14b7-7acf-5fdd-a0d6-c862e74a51fd/5f50603049cc9.image.jpg?resize=300%2C225"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"768","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/heraldextra.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/f/04/f04d14b7-7acf-5fdd-a0d6-c862e74a51fd/5f50603049cc9.image.jpg?resize=1024%2C768"}}},{"id":"58ac8e24-1f30-5d9c-a882-01484f6091ec","description":"Mountain View's Tanner Gillman putts on Hole No.13 during the Region 7 golf tournament at Thanksgiving Point golf course on Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2020.","byline":"Brian E. Preece, Herald correspondent","hireswidth":4032,"hiresheight":3024,"hiresurl":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/heraldextra.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/5/8a/58ac8e24-1f30-5d9c-a882-01484f6091ec/5f5060308ed27.hires.jpg","presentation":"","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1662","height":"1247","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/heraldextra.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/5/8a/58ac8e24-1f30-5d9c-a882-01484f6091ec/5f5060307a9ad.image.jpg?resize=1662%2C1247"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"75","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/heraldextra.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/5/8a/58ac8e24-1f30-5d9c-a882-01484f6091ec/5f5060307a9ad.image.jpg?resize=100%2C75"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"225","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/heraldextra.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/5/8a/58ac8e24-1f30-5d9c-a882-01484f6091ec/5f5060307a9ad.image.jpg?resize=300%2C225"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"768","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/heraldextra.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/5/8a/58ac8e24-1f30-5d9c-a882-01484f6091ec/5f5060307a9ad.image.jpg?resize=1024%2C768"}}}],"revision":6,"commentID":"ac45b9de-3759-5246-a849-8d41339ef7fb","body":"

Thanksgiving Point golf course provided a stiff challenge for the 53 Region 7 golfers that took to the links Wednesday. Only three golfers in the field were able to break 80 as windy conditions late in the afternoon hampered the players.

Lehi, who came into Wednesday\u2019s play with the lead after three previous Region matches, had to go without two of their top players as brothers Helaman and KJ Ofahengaue were competing at the Utah State Amateur.

But Sean Ackley stepped up huge for the Pioneers, carding a field best 1-over par 73 on the par-72 Thanksgiving Point layout. This included suffering a two-stroke penalty on No. 6 for hitting the wrong ball.

Ackley credited his ball-striking for his stellar play.

\u201cI was striking the ball well, it was a good play,\u201d Ackley said. I was hitting greens and two-putting pretty much.\u201d

Lehi came into Wednesday\u2019s match with a 30-stroke lead over Alta. Even without the Ofahengaue brothers, the Pioneers shot a 338, ten strokes better than the Hawks.

Timpview actually won Wednesday\u2019s round with a team total of 327, bolstered by a 79 by Campbell Knell. Teammates Zack Francom and Nathan Giles backed up Knell with 10-over rounds of 82 while Jimmy Hanamaikai carded an 83.

Timpanogos also carded 338 as a team led by Joey Hadfield with a 5-over par round of 77.

Lehi will keep its team lead with 1,247 strokes after four events. Alta will stay in second place 40 strokes back at 1,287. Timpanogos stands in third place at 1,297 while Timpview sits in fourth place with a stroke total of 1,308. Orem is in fifth at 1,395, Mountain Ridge sixth at 1,413 while Mountain View is in seventh using 1,764 total strokes.

Next week there will be two Region 7 matches as Glenmoor will host the teams on Tuesday and The Ridge will be the destination on Wednesday, both of which are in Salt Lake Valley.

Top Ten Golfers Wednesday Thanksgiving Point: 1. Sean Ackley (Lehi) 73 2. Joey Hadfield (Timpanogos) 77 3. Campbell Knell (Timpview) 79. 4 (tie) Austin Westfall (Orem) 82, Gavin Scott (Timpanogos) 82, Nathan Giles (Timpview) 82, Tyler Fraser (Alta) 82 8. Zack Francom (Timpview) 83, Jimmy Hanamaikai (Timpview) 83 10. Zane Clark (Mountain Ridge) 85.

Team Totals Thanksgiving Point: 1. Timpview 327 2 (tie) Lehi 338, Timpanogos 338 4. Alta 348 5. Mountain Ridge 356 6. Orem 365 7. Mountain View 465.

Team Totals After Four Events: 1. Lehi 1247 2. Alta 1287 3. Timpanogos 1297 4. Timpview 1308 5. Orem 1395 6. Mountain Ridge 1413 7. Mountain View 1764.

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The signs of the impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic on Utah high school sports have been easy to see during the first three weeks of action in the 2020 fall season:

But here is the good news: Overall, the careful plans put in place to allow high school athletes to compete seem to be working.

\u201cOverall we are very encouraged by the care and precautions that our member schools have taken to allow education-based activities to take place in a safe setting,\u201d Jon Oglesby, assistant director at the Utah High School Activities Association, said in a phone interview Monday. \u201cWe\u2019ve done a great deal of training. Our state health department in conjunction with local health departments have been unbelievable in trying to find solutions to some of the potential problems you could have in conducting activities. I think it is has really been an outstanding example of the partnership that can happen when people are working together to find solutions to complex problems.\u201d

As expected, there have been some situations where athletes tested positive for COVID-19, forcing teams to quarantine. Oglesby sympathized with the affected athletes but pointed to those instances as examples of diligence by schools and health departments.

\u201cHaving teams quarantine is taking place that the district level in conjunction with local health departments,\u201d Oglesby said. \u201cI think the fact that schools are actively checking and minimizing cases due to that is a positive. I don\u2019t think a team finding that there is a need for a quarantine can be a positive because that shows that we are able \u2014 in conjunction with health departments \u2014 to isolate issues before they become even more widespread. It is unfortunate that has happened but it is good that the measures are in place to be able to isolate them.\u201d

In addition to the testing, teams are using a variety of risk-reducing efforts including the use of masks and limits on certain types of contact.

Many teams have used fabric \u201cgator\u201d face coverings, which studies have indicated may actually be worse than having no face covering at all because of how they disperse particles that might spread the disease.

When asked about whether the UHSAA might address a health concern, Oglesby said that decisions about changing what are considered as acceptable face coverings would have to be made by the health departments.

While the UHSAA isn\u2019t involved in the quarantine or other health-related decisions, Oglesby said it has tried to be a resource to help teams find other opportunities when games have had to be canceled.

He said that the fact that the state uses a ratings percentage index, or RPI, method to seed teams in the state tournaments means that game adjustments and cancellations don\u2019t have the same impact they would\u2019ve had when the association used other methods.

\u201cThis is the ideal system to have to go through what we are going through with regards to postseason seeding,\u201d Oglesby said. \u201cThe RPI is calculated off of the games that are played. It is definitely an improvement on how things would\u2019ve been done in the old region-qualifying system.\u201d

The UHSAA is actively examining how health regulations may impact the upcoming state tournament competitions, the first of which is scheduled to take place in just over a month at the end of September.

\u201cIt\u2019s been big for our state-tournament venues to work with state and local officials to understand if we can hold our state tournaments there,\u201d Oglesby said. \u201cThere has been really good communication with a lot of people in a lot of the state. I think we are in a good place. We are trying to mitigate as much potential risk as possible.\u201d

One of the changes the UHSAA has already made is both moving and separating the annual state cross country meet, which is usually held at Sugar House Park in Salt Lake City. This year the 6A, 5A and 3A teams will compete at Soldier Hollow golf course in Heber, while the 4A, 2A and 1A teams will compete in Cedar City.

He hopes all of the successes don\u2019t result in anyone getting lax in their attention to the precautionary efforts.

\u201cIt doesn\u2019t mean that everything is fixed and it\u2019s time to pat ourselves on the back,\u201d Oglesby said. \u201cWe have to remain vigilant and work even harder to try to stay ahead of problems, to keep them at a micro level if and when they do occur.\u201d

His message to athletes, coaches, administrators, families and communities is to continue to be unified.

\u201cIt\u2019s important to remember that we are all in this together for one thing: To keep kids in the classroom and related to that is what we view as an extension of the classroom in education-based activities,\u201d Oglesby said. \u201cI think the entire state of Utah should be so encouraged by the positive response and the related work that our administrators, teachers, coaches, staff and student-athletes have willfully accepted to stay in the classroom and ensure we are able to stay in our education-based activity settings.

\u201cI would encourage everyone in the state to continue to do the best they can to mask up Utah, to social distance, to practice proper hygiene, to symptom check, to do everything that goes along with the best practices of ensuring health in today\u2019s world. Through our combined focus, we are going to be able to continue to run the race we have been running to maintain education in this COVID-19 era. I\u2019m extremely, extremely grateful that the team we have is the people of the great state of Utah.\u201d

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In one week, high school athletes in Utah will officially be back in action for the first time since the March shutdown \u2014 but where things will go from there is still a murky picture at best.

The Utah High School Activities Association discussed some concerns and issues during Tuesday morning\u2019s Board of Trustees teleconference meeting, emphasizing that the highest priorities are ensuring the safety of students while making school as normal as possible.

That\u2019s a tough balancing act when talking about sports during a global pandemic.

UHSAA affirmed its July 9 decision to continue with fall sports as planned but the situation is still fluid and there will be some significant changes to the traditional way things have been done in the past.

As outlined in its \u201cReturn to Play\u201d guidelines, the activities association reiterated the importance of steps like temperature and symptom checks, social distancing, wearing face coverings and having accurate rosters for the purpose of contract tracing.

Representatives from school districts along the Wasatch Front, including Alpine School District, talked about an agreement they made last week to limit the number of fans at all sporting events to 25% of capacity and some are planning to require tickets (unpaid in many cases) at every level of competition.

One of the questions discussed was why high school sports in Utah would allow fans when professional and college sports aren\u2019t allowing them at this point.

Tom Sherwood, principal at Brighton High School in Cottonwood Heights, said that high school athletes are made up of minors and that having them play sports where they could get hurt without their parents present creates an uncertain situation.

He also noted that high school venues in Utah are much smaller than those of college and professional sports, which makes them easier to manage as schools can manage the numbers of spectators and enforce distancing and face covering requirements.

He added that his district and others are also planning on livestreaming every event whenever internet access allows that to be the possible.

Another of the challenges the UHSAA faces is finding solutions when high schools in the Salt Lake City area are in the moderate-risk \u201corange\u201d phase while others across the state are in the low-risk \u201cyellow\u201d phase or the new-normal \u201cgreen\u201d phase.

Those situations may require extra flexibility and communication as venue changes are made or schedules are adjusted.

UHSAA executive director Rob Cuff told the board that he believes communication will be vital as the different teams, schools, districts and the state organization work to navigate the various challenges.

\u201cWe will need to communicate with county health departments with regards to venues and what we are doing,\u201d Cuff said. \u201cIt\u2019s so important that teams communicate in advance before games so they let fans know about restriction. We made the decision earlier that there would be no forfeits. If one team is not able to play, it will be considered no contest. If another team can play, then we will try to match it up with another team to be able to play a game.\u201d

While flexibility will be key to make sports a reality during COVID-19, UHSAA will not necessarily be flexible with its transfer rules.

There have been rumors of athletes from California, Arizona and Nevada moving to Utah in large numbers because they are unable to play sports in their home states but the UHSAA emphasized that such situations would require those athletes to meet current guidelines before being allowed to compete at the varsity level.

The reality, as many of those present acknowledged during the meeting, is that many decisions about how things will go this fall will be in the hands of state government leaders as well as local health departments.

The ideal is for every team, school and district to do everything in their power to be as safe as possible.

\u201cNo one wants to be the one who hosted a football game where there was an outbreak,\u201d Sherwood said. \u201cI\u2019ve met with our coaches and we\u2019ve talked about how this year we are in it for participation. It\u2019s not about championships. We don\u2019t even know if there will be championships. Our motivation is as pure as it can be and that is to enable kids to participate. We need to be responsible to keep the season going as long as we can. It\u2019s a different environment this year and we all need to do our part in this.\u201d

For updated information on the UHSAA’s “Return to Play” guidelines, go to http://uhsaa.org.

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Match-play championships can be a unique experience for golfers, since they find themselves going head-to-head against the best competition.

That reality was certainly on display at the 2020 Utah State Junior Amateur Championship at Thanksgiving Point golf course in Lehi on Friday as five Utah Valley junior golfers hit the links in their respective age groups.

The end result, however, was that each of their opponents turned out to be slightly better in each championship match.

\u201cMatch play is always fun,\u201d Lehi senior Lila Galeai said. \u201cIt was great to go out there and just compete with Grace Summerhays.\u201d

Galeai, who was competing in the Girls 15-18 Division, fell behind early to Summerhays, going down by three holes. She rallied late in the front nine to cut the deficit to just one hole at the turn.

\u201cThis is my home course, so I\u2019m comfortable on every hole,\u201d Galeai said. \u201cBut playing against Grace is super-fun because she is a great competitor. I was down the whole time but I had opportunities to come back. The putts just weren\u2019t dropping for me. I knew it would come down to playing great golf during the whole round.\u201d

Galeai had a chance to tie things up on No. 10, then made a nice save to get a par and halve the hole on No. 11. But Summerhays took control with some great shots on No. 12 and No. 13 and she pulled in front and eventually got the 2-and-1 win.

Even though she didn\u2019t get the win, Galeai said she was pleased with how she rallied after struggling on the first day of the tournament.

\u201cMy play on Monday meant I had a tough seed,\u201d Galeai said. \u201cI knew I had one of the hardest routes. I had to play Sunbin Seo and Berlin Long, so I know I had to keep playing better and better throughout the week.\u201d

In the Girls 13-14 Division, Alpine\u2019s Aadyn Long found herself in the opposite position. Since the division didn\u2019t have many participants this year, she had to wait to play until she got to the finals.

\u201cI was kind of disappointed that this was my only round,\u201d Aadyn Long said. \u201cI wish I\u2019d been able to play more but this was still good practice. But you win some and you lose some.\u201d

She ended up locked in a tight battle against Ashley Lam of Taylorsville with neither having an advantage going into Hole No. 14.

Lam was able to win that hole to move in front, but Aadyn Long hit a great shot on the par-3 No. 15. Her birdie putt appeared to be right on line to move her back into a tie with Lam, but lipped out and the two ended up halving the hole.

\u201cI thought I had won the hole,\u201d Aadyn Long said. \u201cI thought I had made that putt but I hit it just a little too hard.\u201d

Lam rallied to win Hole No. 16, then ended the match as both golfers parred No. 17 to give Lam the 2-and-1 victory.

Even though she came up short, Aadyn Long said she enjoyed the contest.

\u201cIt\u2019s fun to be able to play someone consistent like that,\u201d Aadyn Long said. \u201cIt pushes you to find that competitive fire. It was a great match today and Ashley played really well.\u201d

In the Boys 13-14 Division, Alpine\u2019s Kihei Akina fell behind Parker Bunn of Ogden but made a late charge. Akina ended up running out of holes, however, as Bunn won the title, 1-up.

Saydie Wagner made it to the finals in the Girls 11-12 Division, while Saylor Wagner reached the championship round in the 10-and-under Division.

Both Wagners ended up coming up short as Uintah\u2019s Whitni Johnson won the Girls 11-12 Division (5-and-4) and South Jordan\u2019s Paige Anae took the title in the Girls 10-and-under Division (9-and-7).

"}, {"id":"165d086a-7378-521b-9a4b-b4c87ad4e5c3","type":"article","starttime":"1588293720","starttime_iso8601":"2020-04-30T18:42:00-06:00","priority":50,"sections":[{"golf":"sports/high-school/golf"},{"boys":"sports/high-school/golf/boys"},{"girls":"sports/high-school/golf/girls"},{"cedar-valley-aviators":"sports/high-school/schools/cedar-valley-aviators"},{"lehi-pioneers":"sports/high-school/schools/lehi-pioneers"},{"lone-peak-knights":"sports/high-school/schools/lone-peak-knights"},{"timpview-thunderbirds":"sports/high-school/schools/timpview-thunderbirds"}],"flags":{"editors_pick":"true","featured":"true"},"application":"editorial","title":"Teenage golfers savor competing at first junior golf tournament of 2020","url":"http://www.heraldextra.com/sports/high-school/golf/article_165d086a-7378-521b-9a4b-b4c87ad4e5c3.html","permalink":"https://www.heraldextra.com/sports/high-school/golf/teenage-golfers-savor-competing-at-first-junior-golf-tournament-of-2020/article_165d086a-7378-521b-9a4b-b4c87ad4e5c3.html","canonical":"https://www.heraldextra.com/sports/high-school/golf/teenage-golfers-savor-competing-at-first-junior-golf-tournament-of-2020/article_165d086a-7378-521b-9a4b-b4c87ad4e5c3.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":14,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"By Jared Lloyd\nDaily Herald","prologue":"\u201cIt\u2019s just so great to be out here!\u201d That was the consensus of golfers, parents and observers as they enjoyed the Fairways Magazine UJGA Preview at TalonsCove golf course in Saratoga Springs Wednesday and Thursday. \u201cI was really looking forward to this tournament because it might be one of the few I might be playing,\u201d said Lila Galeai, a junior at Lehi. \u201cIt was really good to be there. I was super-excited to see all of the people that I usually play with and catch with them. 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\u201cIt\u2019s just so great to be out here!\u201d

That was the consensus of golfers, parents and observers as they enjoyed the Fairways Magazine UJGA Preview at TalonsCove golf course in Saratoga Springs Wednesday and Thursday.

\u201cI was really looking forward to this tournament because it might be one of the few I might be playing,\u201d said Lila Galeai, a junior at Lehi. \u201cIt was really good to be there. I was super-excited to see all of the people that I usually play with and catch with them. Being on the course was super-fun.\u201d

Galeai was locked in a duel with Berlin Long, a sophomore at Lone Peak, in the 15-18-year-old girls division with the two talented golfers tied at 4-under-par after 27 holes.

It was on the par-4 Hole No. 11 where Galeai made a big move as she drove the green with her tee shot. She then two-putted for birdie, while Long couldn\u2019t get the putter quite locked in.

\u201cI played better on the first day,\u201d Long said. \u201cI hit the ball well but I had four three-putts. I couldn\u2019t quite get the speed of the greens, so that was definitely a bummer. But I still hit it pretty well.\u201d

Galeai ended up with five birdies and just one bogey in the final nine holes as she pulled away to win the division with a score of 8-under-par.

\u201cI started the round with double-bogey on the first hole,\u201d Galeai said. \u201cI needed to make sure I kept my cool. I knew I had a lot of good opportunities to make up for the mistakes. I remembered to be patient and just take it one shot at a time. On the back nine I had a lot of birdie opportunities. I was feeling pretty confident with my driver. I knew where I needed to miss if I didn\u2019t hit my driver well but I was thinking positive.\u201d

She said being able to win the tournament is a nice reward after trying to stay strong during all of the challenges surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.

\u201cI had to make sure I kept practicing every day,\u201d Galeai said. \u201cAfter basketball season, I wanted to stay in shape to be out on the course so physically I wouldn\u2019t be so drained.\u201d

Long said that while she was disappointed that she didn\u2019t finish as strong as she felt she could have, she felt like she gained some valuable insight into her game.

\u201cIt showed me what I need to work on to get ready for the next tournament,\u201d Long said. \u201cIt was good to be able to get out and play, and see what parts of my game I need to improve right now. It\u2019s also good to see that they can play, that they will take precautions so we can continue to have tournaments.\u201d

The best part was being out there and getting to play in a tournament.

\u201cIt was definitely refreshing to be in a really competitive environment,\u201d Long said. \u201cWe\u2019ve been able to golf but getting out there was really fun.\u201d

Both Long and Galeai said they enjoy every opportunity they get to compete against each other.

\u201cI love playing with Berlin,\u201d Galeai said. \u201cShe brings out the competitiveness in me. The way she plays, it makes me become a better player. Sometimes you forget you are competing. It\u2019s super-fun to play with girls who are really good.\u201d

Long said: \u201cLila and I have been really close and I always love playing with her. It was fun to get with our group because I haven\u2019t seen them in awhile. I love playing with people who are fun and push me to be better.\u201d

Galeai did recently get another win of a different sort.

She posted an Instagram video of her bouncing on her back on a trampoline and then using that force to launch a basketball clear across the yard and into a basket. That video ended up winning a social-media trick shot competition.

\u201cI barely made the shot in time,\u201d Galeai said. \u201cIt took me like two days to make that shot. It was fun to win.\u201d

She added, however, that winning the golf tournament was a little more rewarding.

\u201cBoth were good because I came out with the same result \u2014 winning,\u201d Galeai said. \u201cBut getting out on the course yesterday and today and playing with everyone, that was super-fun.\u201d

Berlin Long\u2019s younger sister Aadyn Long ended up winning the Girls 13-14 division with a score of 6-over-par, while Kihei Akina of Alpine won the Boys 13-14 division with a score of 5-under-par.

Things didn\u2019t go as well for the Utah Valley golfers in the Boys 15-18 division but Caden Dunn of Eagle Mountain ended up tied for third with a score of even-par.

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It's January and that's a good time to consider the future.

So let's take stock of what we have learned about high school sports in recent years:

1. Size of school is only moderately useful in determining relative competitiveness

In Utah Valley, for example, Westlake has been one of the largest schools in the state for the last few years but that certainly hasn't translated into dominance for most of the Thunder athletic programs.

2. Regions are only moderately useful for scheduling

While geographic regions (that's a loose term, particularly for smaller classifications) may make sense for rivalries and convenience, they always had problems when it came to competitive balance.

Just ask anyone who competed in Class 6A's Region 4 compared to some of the other 6A regions for the last few years. Now with the ratings percentage index (RPI) seeding process, the regions matter even less.

3. Schools are trying to figure out where they fit in an era of RPI seeding

In some ways, RPI is great. The goal of getting the top teams to have the best chances to face each other in the later rounds of state tournaments is a laudable one, even if it is still going to have hiccups.

But if everyone is going to be seeded in the team sports based on RPI numbers, then why keep classifications and regions as they are presently constituted at all?

Maybe it's time to take the next step.

I spent some time recently discussing the concerns with Skyridge soccer coach Jerry Preisendorf and he suggested that our current model of every school having all their sports lumped in the same classification (with a few exceptions like Mountain View football) is flawed.

He mentioned the promotion-relegation model that is commonly used in international soccer and that concept intrigues me.

Since we already have such detailed computer formulas determining who plays who at state, why doesn't the Utah High School Activities Association take those numbers and use it to determine which sports at which schools belong in which classification?

Take, for example, the Payson and Timpanogos football programs, which are currently petitioning to become independent because of lack of numbers and their struggles to compete in their current classifications.

But the Timberwolves have excellent baseball and basketball programs, while the Lions are very, very good in wrestling.

If you want to look the other direction, how about looking at Lone Peak?

The Knights have enjoyed tremendous success in a wide variety of sports in the last few years -- but the Lone Peak softball team hasn't done very well.

It's true at almost every school that some athletic programs do well and others struggle -- so is it time to classify schools based on on-field performance instead of just enrollment numbers?

It's impossible to ignore that we've already started down that road with football, which is classified to some extent differently than other sports as evidenced by the Mountain View example.

There are roughly 150 high schools in Utah that play sports of some sort under the UHSAA umbrella, although not all schools field teams in every sport.

So here is the proposal I've been thinking about:

So for example this year Mountain View volleyball and Orem football would both move up from 5A to compete in 6A next year, while Timpanogos football, Payson and Spanish Fork girls soccer would have dropped from 5A to 4A.

Would it work? I don't see why the details couldn't be worked out, although transportation issues might be bigger.

Would it solve all the problems? No, since it wouldn't address issues like transfers, open enrollment or sports club discrepancies.

Would it be the best move?

Well, this is where it depends on your perspective.\u00a0

In some ways it would be more complicated -- fewer girls and boys basketball games back-to-back, for example.

Rivalries might be impacted significantly (although many of those are already affected with each reclassification).

But it would also be simpler, since the two-year reclassification process based on enrollment would be eliminated.\u00a0

The main goal would be to put as many programs competing at as close to the same level as possible.\u00a0

I don't agree it would solve everything -- but I'd love to see how it would work.

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The 2019 seasons of high school athletics in Utah County was one of major shakeups in the prep landscape, as well as many state championships won by local teams. Here\u2019s a look at the top 10 stories for high school sports in 2019.

1. New rating percentage index changes playoff system

One of the biggest changes to high school team sports in years was announced last January when the Utah High School Activities Association introduced the new playoff format.

The UHSAA\u2019s posted statement to explain its reason in going from the straight region standings seeding process that was previously used states: \u201cThe RPI system will be an accurate reflection of all regular and region/postseason games. Teams could be seeded into the state bracket based on their RPI ranking versus the previous region rotation which could result in the top teams in the same side of the bracket. Classifications with unbalanced regions will also have better representation in the state tournament.\u201d

The changes were implemented for the 2019 fall team sports (football, volleyball and girls soccer) and the reviews were mixed. For the first time, just about every team was invited to participate in their respective tournaments \u2014 which was good and bad, since some teams got wins while others ended up getting crushed.

2. Realignment again changes classifications around

It was time once again for the implementation of new regions and changing of classifications in the UHSAA\u2019s every-other-year reclassification process. The new alignment went into effect at the beginning of the 2019-20 school year.

In Utah Valley, the majority of the public schools were put in either Class 6A or Class 5A, with almost all being slotted in Region 4, Region 7 or Region 8. The new school in Eagle Mountain, Cedar Valley High School, started competing in Class 4A this year, as did Mountain View\u2019s football team.

While not unexpected, the results did create more inter-valley state playoff matchups in the fall \u2014 especially in Class 5A

3. Cedar Valley opens doors in Eagle Mountain

For the first time, the growing community of Eagle Mountain on the west side of Utah Lake is able to have its high school students stay in town. Athletic teams went through the ups and downs that come with being a first-year school as the Aviators got things started in August of 2019.

The biggest success was that of the girls soccer team, a squad that finished 12-6 and came in second in Region 10 (including beating the eventual state champs from Ogden).

The football, volleyball, cross country, boys golf and girls tennis teams finished their first seasons while the boys and girls basketball programs and the swimming programs are halfway through as they prepare to start 2020.

4. Successful coaches choose to step down

There is no doubt that there are going to be some big coaching shoes to fill at a number of high schools in Utah Valley. Coaching changes are part of high school sports but this year saw so high-profile changes.

Three examples are the retirements of Spanish Fork softball coach Don Andrews, Provo football coach Tony McGeary and Pleasant Grove volleyball coach Allyce Jones. While their reasons were different, they each left a huge mark on their respective sports and won\u2019t be easy to replace.

5. Orem wins third straight football title

After winning 4A titles in 2017 and 2018, it wasn\u2019t clear how the Tigers would do when they moved up a classification and played against bigger schools.

During the regular season, Orem had some ups and downs, losing four games (including three to in-state competition).

When it mattered most, however, the Tigers got impressive performances across the board including a heroic fourth-down touchdown run by senior Noah Sewell \u2014 the 2019 Utah Valley Football Player of the Year \u2014 in the championship as Orem again went all the way to the top.

6. American Fork boys basketball makes magical run to 6A title

Twice during the 2019 boys basketball season, 6A leviathans American Fork and Pleasant Grove clashed with the Vikings coming out on top in both Region 4 showdowns.

In order to get a third shot at Pleasant Grove, however, the Cavemen needed a miracle finish in the 6A semifinals against Davis. Thanks to a monumental effort by Tanner Cuff (the 2019 Utah Valley Boys Basketball Player of the Year) American Fork escaped with a two-point win in triple-overtime.

The Cavemen carried that momentum into the title contest against the Vikings, building a lead late and holding off Pleasant Grove to win the 6A state title.

7. Area schools sweep wrestling titles as Pleasant Grove wins seventh title in eight years

Utah and Heber Valleys have established an impressive reputation for success on the mats over the years and 2019 was no exception.

Cole Zorn and Maika Tauteoii may have been the only individual champs for Pleasant Grove but 16 total Viking wrestlers ended up placing to help rack up the 311.5 points the team had \u2014 44 more than second-place Layton \u2014 to get the seventh first-place trophy in eight years for the school.

Payson won its fourth state title in the decade, winning the 4A title, while Wasatch won the 5A championship.

8. Pleasant Grove, Mountain View volleyball secure state championship trophies

As the Vikings and the Bruins prepared for their respective volleyball title games, they knew they had their work cut out for themselves. Each had the No. 1-seeds (Copper Hills in Class 6A, Farmington in Class 5A) standing in the way of the title.

Both Pleasant Grove and Mountain View proved up to the task as they both won in four sets, making it another big day for volleyball in Utah Valley.

It was the fourth title in eight years for the Vikings, who have played in eight straight title games, while the Bruins won their first title since 1982.

9. Lone Peak golf and tennis continue powerhouse ways

Few schools are able to boast the type of dominance in any sport that the Knights have established in tennis and golf.

Lone Peak won all of the 6A state titles in both sports in 2019 as the boys tennis team won its fourth straight crown, the girls tennis team won its third straight championship, the boys golf team won its sixth title in seven years and the girls golf team won its third title in four years.

The Timpview girls tennis team and girls golf teams also won 5A titles.

10. Lone Peak and American Fork dominate 6A swimming

The Knight and Cavemen swimming teams spend a lot of time together, so it wasn\u2019t really surprising that they were all elated with their successes in the 2019 6A state swim meet at BYU.

At the end of the day, each school brought home one first-place trophy and one second-place trophy. American Fork won the girls swimming title and came in second in the boys competition, while Lone Peak won the boys meet and was the runner-up on the girls side.

Honorable mentions: Pleasant Grove baseball beats Lone Peak for 6A title, American Fork girls soccer wins second 6A title in three years, Provo and Lone Peak girls teams win state track and field crowns, Lone Peak and Springville girls cross country teams win championships.

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