By Shawn O’Brate
LANDER – The dominance that Lander Valley High School (LVHS) has experienced so far this season has been impressive, to say the least, but it continued this past Monday and Tuesday as they hosted their own golf tournament in the third week of the 2023 season. Lander’s Terry Berg Invite featured teams from Cody, Evanston and Kemmerer and the weather could not have been much better for the four teams.
On the first day of the tournament the wind picked up a little bit, gusting to 37 mph at certain parts of the day, but the Tigers’ golf team held strong and followed their guts on their home course. After 18 holes it was LVHS’ boys on top thanks to a 75 by Riley Stoudt, three strokes better than the second-place score by Cody’s Logan Hall (78).
“The boys played exceptionally well with the wind [on the first day],” LVHS Golf Coach Mike Watson said. “Then [they] took advantage of the calmer winds to finish off two solid days.”
Stoudt wasn’t the only Tiger up there once the first day was over though. In third place Hunter Kihn (79) had one of his best days of the season, followed closely by Lander’s Craig Hansen (80) in fourth and Sequeil Lozier (82) sitting pretty in sixth right above Owen Sweeney (83) to round out the top seven. Another nice surprise for the Tigers was also the emergence of Michael Lev, who finished the first 18 in 10th place with a score of 84.
The girls’ side of the tournament shrank rather quickly, ending with just Cody and Lander Valley duking it out against each other and one golfer from Kemmerer, Kaylee Miller. Cody’s girls, Adelie Hall (94) and Eliana Hopkin (96), finished on top once the first day was done but Lander’s Morgan Hill (100) was in a great position in third place.
Lady Tigers’ standout Keigann Watson, who has had a strong season so far this fall, rounded out the top five with a 107 but she would come out the next day and have one of the best days of anyone at the tournament, boy or girl. That came when she put up an 88, the second-best score of the day behind Cody’s Hall, which bumped the LVHS sophomore up to second place with a total score of 195, tied with Cody’s Hopkin.
The boys of Lander also kept up the good scores on the second day, especially Lander’s Sweeney (76) and Kihn (77) who had the two best scores of the final 18 holes. In the end, it would not matter as Stoudt kept up some good shots and finished with a 78 which was just enough to keep him in first place at 153 total.
Stoudt’s final score was one stroke better than Cody’s Hall (154) who finished in second place, right ahead of Kihn (156) and Sweeney (159) who all sat in the top four. Lander’s Lev also shot a personal record (79) which helped him gain a sixth-place finish, two spots ahead of his teammate Hansen (167).
All these phenomenal scores from LVHS were more than enough to finish the two-day tournament as champions with a total score of 629, 45 strokes better than Cody (674). This win marks the Tigers’ third-straight tournament victory to open the season, by far their best start to a season in a very long time.
“It was nice to have four boys shoot in the 70s as well, which has been the goal all year,” Coach Watson stated after the third win. “We still need to clean up a few things though, but their games are coming along.”
The Lander girls finished second to Cody, ending with five Lady Tigers finishing within the top nine. Up next, the Tigers and Lady Tigers head to Buffalo for week four which was originally scheduled for Riverton.