By GANNON HANEVOLD
Moapa Valley Progress
The 2017 season has been extraordinary for so many spring sports at Moapa Valley High School, and the Boys Golf team has had a season that is no different. In a year where many didn’t expect the team to go far, the Pirates have defied expectations and found their way into the state championships in Spring Creek. For the first time since 2009, the entire team made it into the tournament. The Pirates team, made up of six players: Kyle Lyon, Brody Leavitt, Gage Hanley, Cameron Larsen, Chase Kruse, and Logan Geary, earned the third seed in the Southern region and claimed the last spot in the state tournament.
The Pirates narrowly edged out their competition in the Sunrise division, including rival Virgin Valley. Going into the last week of the season, the Pirates weren’t expecting to find a spot in the state championships. But Moapa Valley senior golfer Chase Kruse says finding out they were in the tournament was his favorite moment of the season. “None of us expected it at all and thought our season was over after our last league tournament,” Kruse said.
Kruse, who is also one of the team’s captains, said he knew that in order to qualify for the state championship as a team the Pirates would need at least four solid golfers. With just three returning players in Kruse, Logan Geary, and Gage Hanley, the Pirates needed someone to step up and claim that fourth role. Kruse said Cameron Larsen came in as a rookie golfer and helped take Moapa to the next level.
In the regional tournament, the Pirates looked to position themselves well after punching their ticket. Team captain Logan Geary led the team scoring a 99, and Chase Kruse also scored a 102, while Gage Hanley finished with a 103. Hanley had his best performance of the season at the Wildhorse course, scoring a 92.
While much of golf takes certain talent, Geary said he attributes much of the game to the mental side.
“I worked on keeping it cool the most this season,” Geary said. “Golf is a mental game. If you get mad, you won’t think about what you need to do.”
As someone who has had a part in the golf program all through high school, it was certainly rewarding for Geary to see his team finally reach state. “This year has meant a lot to me,” he said. “It shows that all the hard work and long hours finally paid off.”
Moapa Valley’s head coach Lorenzo Delgadillo praised the team’s hard work to get to this point. “All the boys improved immensely this year,” he said. “The players would come to practice each day, work hard, and continue to grow.”
The Pirates hope to find success at the state-wide level and are certainly proud of the success they’ve been able to find this season.