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Midvale Journal

Hillcrest High girls ‘par-fect’ their golf swings

May 07, 2024 04:37PM ● By Julie Slama

Hillcrest High’s girls golf team member, senior Lola Nielson tees off during the March 20 tournament. (Julie Slama/City Journals)

During every round, practice or in a match, Dave Richardson, who coaches with Jeff Mayer, sees improvement in Hillcrest High’s girls golf team.

“None of our team grew up playing, so we’re seeing them get better stroke by stroke,” Richardson said. 

The 11-member varsity team competes against Park City and Stansbury high schools, which are expected to dominate 4A region 10.

The season already has been challenging. It got a delayed start with snow canceling the first two tournaments. One was rescheduled for May 10; the other won’t be made up.

“It’s hard to get in swings with snow in February and March,” Richardson said, although he was thankful Top Golf allows the team to hit balls for free in the
winter months.

With multiple school districts in the region holding different spring breaks, the girls didn’t compete for several weeks. 

Still, Richardson expects the Huskies to be competitive with Cottonwood, Murray and Jordan highs.

He foresees his athletes having potential this season.

“Kinzley (Dietz, a senior) is hitting the ball a lot better; she took some lessons last summer and got in some practice,” he said. “Golf is a passion. I can teach it, but players need to play to get better, the same as any athlete needs to in any sport. Olivia (Sayles, a junior) put in some time last summer and Holland (Johnson, a junior) also took lessons. They have improved a lot and have opportunities to keep getting better.”

Junior Fiona Chen already had topped her previous best golf score, while the natural athleticism in seniors Lola Nielson and Sarah Pruden as well as freshman Kaitlyn Poulsen and solid play of sophomore Ellie Schreiber helps contribute to the team.

Nielson began golfing her fresh-
man year.

“I heard on the school announcements we needed girl golfers, so I went,” she said. “My brothers loved coach Richardson as a teacher so I was kind of interested in golf and thought since he’s a good teacher, he could teach me golf. I was nervous the first day, knowing nothing, but coach Richardson is super nice and a good guy, so it’s been super fun.”

Nielson said through his instruction and patience, she has grown more comfortable and confident.

“Knowing I’m picking up this new skill I’ve never done before, I’m learning to be patient with myself too. I’ve improved, but still can be better. I like being able to correct myself and challenging myself to get better. I’ll look at people’s swings and sometimes I’ll video myself to see what I can do,” she said. “Every improvement is a

Nielson also appreciates playing in tournaments against Jordan High, where her cousins, Jill and Eliza Ballou, play on their school team.

“We play at the same level and compare our scores at tournaments to see who is the best of us three. I really like the way the tournaments partner us up with girls from three other schools because I get to meet a lot of people,” she said. “With our team being so small, it’s been a fun experience getting to know girls on the team. I’ve been playing with Kinzley since we were freshmen and we’ve grown close.”

Hillcrest’s girls’ regular golf season was slated to end April 29 with the region championship.

Richardson swung his golf cart by Nielson as she was on the Glendale Golf Course to offer her, as he did other team members, some hand warmers that cold start of the early season golf tournament.

“And when it warms up,” she added, “I like being outside.” λ