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Midvale Journal

Hillcrest High golfer Cox plays at state after weather cuts into season tournaments

Jul 03, 2023 10:18AM ● By Julie Slama

Hillcrest High’s Nyah Cox finished eighth in region, qualifying her to play at the state tournament. (Dave Richardson/Hillcrest High)

Hillcrest High’s No. 1 girls’ golfer wrapped up her junior year competing at the 5A state tournament at Remuda Golf Course in Farr West, near Ogden.

With a 9 a.m. tee time on May 8, Nyah Cox, who averages a gross score of 92, was the lone Husky to compete in the first round.

“She was our No. 1 player all season,” her coach, Dave Richardson said. “She’s a really good player.”

Even so, Cox hit 22 strokes more the leader from nearby Skyline High, who shot 11 under par. While she parred five holes, she bogeyed other holes, missing her chance to advance to the second round.

“She had to shoot an 85 or be within 10 strokes of the lead, and she wasn’t there with her 94,” Richardson said. “Still, it was the first time we’ve had anybody qualify for state in a while. It definitely was a highlight seeing her play at state.”

This year’s team saw the emergence of a bunch of freshmen, who Richardson foresees as the future of the program. Those include Capri Perkins, Ruthy Williams, Ellie Schreiber, Brooklyn Poulsen, Fiona Chen and Lacey Tokita.

“We had a number of freshmen play varsity as injuries plagued some of our returners,” he said. “If these freshmen stick together and play the next three years, we’ll have a really good team their senior year.”

Senior captain Ava Perkins struggled this year with a wrist injury and junior Sarah Pruden was out with a torn ACL, Richardson said. Junior Kinzley Dietz already has been named team captain next year.

“I knew going in this season that we were young and inexperienced, and I was confident Nyah was going to make state,” he said. “But with our winter being so long this year with all the snow, everyone was using Top Golf to play so we couldn’t even play there because they sold out. I knew then it could be rough since we’d be starting without hitting many balls.”

The season had a late start with tournaments canceled and pushed back because of the inclement weather.

“Our first tournament was late March, then we basically took a three-week break from tournaments that counted as our region’s teams’ spring breaks didn’t match up. We got a couple in, right before region, even so, the state modified the requirements this year. Instead of turning in six out of seven scores we have only had to turn in all four scores because we couldn’t get the tournaments in,” he said, adding that the team took fifth at region. “It was just unusually cold, wet and windy until the last two weeks of the season. We even had lightning delays.”

This summer, he expects several of his players to be on the course.

For Cox, it not only means spending time shooting rounds on the course, but also practicing on the putting green. Richardson sat down with Cox and her dad to plan some workouts for the summer.

“When she sinks those putts consistently, her game is awesome; she’s someone to reckon with,” he said. “But we want all the girls to play this summer. If they wait until next spring to start playing golf, then, the team’s not going to be very good. I told them, ‘You got to play all summer long.’ If they play this summer, this group could be really good. So that’s our goal.”

With a new region next season, Richardson expects tough competition from Park City High. He also knows there will be strong players from Cottonwood and Murray high schools.

“We’ll see how this team does over the summer,” he said. “If they’re dedicated, we’ll come back better too.” λ