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’t 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’s 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.

“When you take it as a whole, it was great for us to do as well as we did,” Crandall said. “We 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.”

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.

“He’s been a lot of fun to coach,” Crandall said. “He’s 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.”

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.

“The goal for us was to learn and grow, to take advantage of the experience,” Crandall said. “We 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.”

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.

“McKinney made so much improvement and it showed up in his consistency,” Crandall said. “He 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.”

Daily Herald sports reporter Jared Lloyd can be reached at 801-344-2555 or jlloyd@heraldextra.com. Twitter: @JaredrLloyd. Instagram: @JaredrLloyd.

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