WORLAND – The Wheatland High School Girls did again and for the third consecutive year, they walk to the 19th hole as Wyoming 3A conference tournament champions
This year's conference championship was held at Green Hills Golf Course in Worland.
“The course was in great shape and was a fair test for all the competitors,” head golf coach Tony Nichols said. “Navigating an unfamiliar course is difficult, especially when you have weather to contend with. During my tenure I can honestly say that the fall golf post season (the last two weeks) usually produces some unwanted weather for golfing.”
This past week was no different. Eight holes into the first round the horn blasted and the golfers were ordered to head to their buses for safety.
“No sooner than we took cover a micro burst of wind descended on the course for about one minute,” Nichols said. “It delayed play for about a half-hour. There were tree branches scattered everywhere and even a large cottonwood was uprooted near the 12th hole. Also, when the players returned they had to deal with 25-40 MPH winds for the remainder of the round.”
It rained throughout the night prior to the second round which produced a sloppy course for day two. There were also scattered showers throughout the round which made play difficult as well. With that said, it did not stop the tough-minded bulldog golfers from having a successful tournament.
“The lady golfers continued their success by winning their third 3A East Conference Championship in a row,” Nichols said. “Their two-day total was 96 shots better than Douglas, the second place team. The girl’s leaderboard was flooded with familiar names. The conference champion was junior Lily Nichols who fired rounds of 87 and 83. I was very impressed by her performance this week because she came down with a bug Wednesday morning and felt horrible the entire tournament.”
She was closely followed by teammate and runner-up Macy Jones who shot 93 and 89. Nichols and Jones were in the same group both days and battled hard throughout the tournament.
“It was awesome to see them compete hard, yet root for each other along the way like great teammates do,” Nichols said.
Juniors Bryley Waring placed third (97-99) and Lola Philo tied for sixth (102-99) respectively. Nichols, Jones and Waring earned all-conference for the third consecutive year and Philo earned her first all-conference award.
“The boys side had a great week as well narrowly coming in fourth place behind Buffalo,” Nichols said. “Once again the boys were led by sophmores Brecken Sandlian, Dylan Nelson and Wyatt Fitzwater. After the first day Sandlian found himself in tie for second place with a personal best tournament score of 81. Honestly, Sandlian was on pace to fire a score in the mid-70's, but fell victim to the harsh winds on the back nine. Nelson also shot an impressive 85 on day one to put him in seventh place heading into day two.”
Day two, Sandlian shot an 88 and Nelson 91. Both Sandlian (6th) and Nelson (9th) finished in the top 10 on the leaderboard which earned them all-conference accolades.
“Prior to the season I told Sandlian and Nelson that their goal should be to earn all-conference and they did not disappoint,” Nichols said. “Sophomore Wyatt Fitzwater also had his best two day total by shooting 97-92 to finish tied for 17th. These three put in a ton of time on the golf course this summer and it shows in the results. I couldn't be happier for them.”
Junior Matthew Wakkuri came in tied for 21st (105-89), freshman Cooper Meyer 25th (106-93), and Senior Caden Davis tied for 32nd (102-104).
Next week the team heads to Buffalo for the 3A State Tournament.
“We are looking forward to a great event on one of the best golf courses in the state,” Nichols said. “Hopefully, the weather will cooperate this year so our golfers can have an enjoyable experience on the big stage.”