Wolverines score region golf championship
Jun 10, 2019 01:57PM
● By Greg James
Hunter High School’s girls golf team is setting records and teaching girls a game they can play the rest of their lives. (Photo courtesy of Devon Cooper)
By Greg James | [email protected]
For the first time in the school’s 29-year history Hunter High School boasts a region golf championship.
“They are somehow making golf cool,” Wolverines head girls golf coach Devon Cooper said. “I felt like that if I invested in the girls the program would benefit. We are going to get a banner in the gymnasium. That is something they can come back years from now and show their kids. It is a legacy, the first of many region titles.”
As few as four years ago the team barely had enough players to field a team and even ran out of golf balls during the season.
“I am really proud of the girls,” Cooper said. “They have worked hard and put in the time to lower their scores and improve their golf game. We have had support from the community. Walmart donated drinks for us and a man from The Ridge (Golf Club) donated 1,000 balls. That made me cry because of where we had been just a short time ago.”
The Wolverines have a full team of 26 golfers including their junior varsity program.
“It is a lot. We have nine varsity golfers and 17 JV. If we had not started our JV program last year some of the girls would not have moved up to varsity this year. It is how we are building the varsity team.”
Last season the Wolverines began a program to invite interested girls to be part of the team. They pay discounted fees and practice less, all in an attempt to familiarize the girls with the game.
Joe Stanley also joined the team as an assistant coach.
“He has been a great addition. He brings wisdom and knowledge of the game. He has a lot of golf experience and has raised four daughters and is a great father figure to the team. It has been good to have him help to work together with these girls,” Cooper said.
Stanley’s daughter, sophomore Charity Ralph, came out last fall to a Wiffle ball get-to-know-the-game that Cooper offered. It was her first experience with the game. After a few tries she was hooked and has bonded with her father.
“Now they play the game together. After practice the other day they went and played nine. It is a new experience for them. We host a daddy-daughter fundraiser in the spring that helps fundraise for our team. I have seen these girls bonds grow deeper. Families are now playing the game together,” Cooper said. “Golf is a game that everyone can do. It is a lifelong sport.”
Senior Mallerie Brown placed second in Region 2, Gwen Grunwald, fifth; Peyton Newell, eighth; Charity Ralph, seventh; Lily Brock, 10th; Cierra Peterson, 12th; and Anna Goodwin, 14th. Every tournament they strived to do their best, but like the team motto, “together” they knew that it was not all on them to win every match.
“It never fell on one girl. They each said it might be me. If a girl has a bad day, they would turn to their teammates and offer encouragement. Gwen constantly surprised us. She was the first girl to break 100 in my four years with the team,” Cooper said.
Newell is a four-year varsity player. Copper said every member of the team has improved.
“Mallerie started playing her sophomore year and has really put in the time. She has taken lessons and really put in extra work. Gwen was a player that last year came out just to have fun and had never played,” Copper said.
The state golf tournament is scheduled to be held May 13 and 14 at TalonsCove in Eagle Mountain (after press deadline).
“We have a chance to make it to day two as a team. That would be an accomplishment,” Cooper said.