By Casey Slaughter
Photos by Kurt Johnson
During the 2010 through 2013 seasons, there wasn’t a more dominant girls golf team than the Bingham Miners. Led by Sirene Blair and Sam Crawford, the Miners captured the state championship for four consecutive years.
After finishing sixth a year ago, the girls this season were focused on bringing Bingham back to the top of the golf game, and continuing the success of the program. This year’s Miners improved by two spots in the 5A standings, just three points out of third.
Senior McKenna Swapp has played for Bingham for four years and has experienced two state titles. She knows what it feels like to be a state champion and she knows what takes to become a champ again.
“Even though we’ve been a successful team, we’ve still had to work hard and work as a team,” Swapp said. “That’s been a very rewarding lesson.”
Freshman Jenique Jacobs hasn’t experienced the success that other members of the team have, but already feels comfortable with the expectations.
“I feel proud that I am able to play for (Bingham),” Jacobs said, “I feel like playing for Bingham has helped my game a lot. I feel a lot more confident and comfortable now…I know all the other girls on the team have my back.”
“I heard the announcements at school and thought maybe I should try out just for fun. And I have absolutely loved it,” said senior Chandler Grundmann, who was hesitant to join the team four years ago, but found instant success with two state championships.
“We were state champions my first two years on the team and I think I learned a lot. (Winning) gave me motivation to better my game,” Grundmann said.
The team finished the season on a strong note and took that confidence to East Bay Golf Course in Provo for the state championships. Swapp was confident going into the tournament.
“We’re getting our mental games sharp and supporting each other and working together. We also have a great coach prepping us with drills and helping us strengthen our mentality,” Swapp said just before state.
Grundmann knows teamwork is important but feels that there is individual pressure to perform. “Your teammates can’t help you,” Grundmann said. “Each girl on the team needs to be self-motivated to play their best to help the team. Personally, I need to focus on every shot.”
As a freshman, Jacobs knows she will have to improve over the years for Bingham to improve its strong tradition, but she is already off to a great start. She also already sees herself as a team leader.
“I struggle quite a bit with my short game and putting,” Jacobs said. “Throughout the summer I plan to work on those two things. I plan on encouraging other girls to get into golf and to try out for Bingham’s team,” she said.
Bingham was among the top teams in the state this year, and with talented young golfers expected to attend Bingham, the Miners run of dominance might be set to return and continue longer than expected. The leader of those expectations is the freshman, Jacobs, who tied for 10th individually at this year’s state championships, the best two-day performance for the Miners.