Rigby and Ririe are winding down their golf seasons with district tournaments this week.
With no driving range and only a small putting green for practice, the Rigby golf team has struggled to be competitive.
“In our district, us and Bonneville have been back and forth for last place. Hillcrest and Madison are the cream of the crop for 5A and top in the state,” said Coach Kip Blanchard. “I don’t see us going to state this year.”
Still Rigby has a number of talented players.
Kaden Miller, a sophomore, is Rigby’s best golfer, although he still lacks consistency.
“In all honesty, if he put in the time for practice—and practice is different from playing—he could be in the top 20 or 25 golfers in the entire state,” Blanchard said.
Alex Lugar, a senior, has been consistently shooting an 85-90.
“He’s probably been our most consistent golfer week in and week out for sure,” Blanchard said.
“Madison Miller has been our best girl for the last two years,” Blanchard said. “She’s at practice every day, a good kid.”
She is also positive and upbeat, with a great attitude and she has served as team captain this year. She consistently shoots a 110-120.
Blanchard has been working to rebuild his team numbers, overcome the lack of practice facilities, and maintain interest as students are busy with multiple activities.
“Sports are getting bigger—basketball and volleyball are almost year-round—a lot of girls go to cheerleading, so they only have time to play a few holes,” Blanchard said.
Having golf in the spring is tough because the students are missing a lot of school. Sometimes they will miss tournaments, just to catch up on school, he said.
To overcome the lack of a driving range, Blanchard has been taking turns with his assistant coach to take a group to the driving range at Teton Lakes, Sage Lakes or Sandcreek, while the other coach remains in Rigby with the rest of the team.
Blanchard feels fortunate to work with Sam Phillips who has been a head golf pro in Florida. He recently got his master’s degree and is teaching at the elementary school in Rigby.
With six boys graduating, the boys team will struggle again next year and both girls and boys will have young teams.
Ririe has 18 golfers this year, which is a fairly big team, and the boys have a shot to go to state, said Coach Jake Landon.
“We started with a bunch of new kids—only five returners—and they’re getting better,” Landon said.
In Ririe’s district, Salmon is in a league of their own, and will for sure win at districts, he said. Otherwise, the other four teams, including Ririe, will be vying for the second spot to go to state. They have played six tournaments.
Ririe usually beats North Fremont and last tournament they had a win against Mackay, Landon said.
“It will be a battle at districts for a spot,” he said.
In addition to two boys teams spots and one girl team opportunity for state, the district will qualify five individual boys and two or three individual girls.
Maddie Morgan, a senior, has the best chance for the girls. If districts would have been their last tournament held at Pinecrest, she would have missed state by just two strokes, Landon said.
“State will be super close,” he said.
Jonathan Scott, a junior, leads the way for the boys.
“He’s just consistently one of our better players,” Landon said.
Tynan Sherrard, a junior, and Gage Morgan, a freshman, are some of the better players and starting to come along. Larz Sutton, a junior is also one to watch.
“We talked him into coming out and he’s been good for us,” Landon said.
For next year, Landon hopes to have everybody back except for Maddie Morgan.
“We’ll miss Maddie,” he said.