Story and photos by Kurt Johnson
Picking the top anything of the year is never an easy proposition, and as we complete our third list of top Utah high school sports stories of the year for Preps Utah, we found that this list is no exception.
For the 2013-2014 school year, we released our Top 20 stories of the year, but this year, we have expanded our list to 25 stories, some of which combine multiple events that share common themes. Since the goal is not to be exactly right, as anything of this nature is entirely subjective, but to recognize as many of the great accomplishments of the student athletes across the state as we can, we hope you will understand.
Beginning July 13 and continuing for the next three weeks, we will release one or two items on our list per day, beginning with No. 25 and working our way up to story No. 1. Today, we announce No. 10.
#10 – Soifua & Sloot
For the second consecutive year the dominating forces at the 4A and 5A girls golf tournaments represented Provo High and Davis High. While the Bulldogs and Darts have won by comfortable margins in the team competitions, they have done it in different ways and the combination of those styles makes up story No. 10 of the 2014-2015 school sports year.
For Davis, depth was key as the 2015 Darts had to overcome a Lone Peak squad that placed three players in the individual top 10. They did that because the four Davis scorers that counted over each of the two days all finished among the 13 best golfers in the state.
Ashley Hale finished 12th and Taylor Brenchley was 13th, and those two combined with junior Jessica Sloot’s individual championship and Laura Gerner’s third-place result were good enough to give the Darts an 18-point win in the Stableford scoring system used in scoring Utah girls high school golf.
Sloot and Gerner have been at the forefront as Davis has surged to the top of 5A girls golf in the state, as both have finished in the top 10 each of the past three seasons, beginning with 2013, when the Darts finished one stroke behind Bingham’s state championship team. That year as a freshman, Sloot tied for second individually while Gerner was in seventh place.
The 2014 team won the state title, led by Gerner’s second-place finish, as Sloot tied for fourth. Then came this year’s group, led by Sloot, that repeated in the top spot.
Sloot held off Lone Peak star Kerstin Fotu by just one stroke at Provo’s East Bay Golf Course, shooting a 71-74 for a 145 over the two days as a stroke score, while Fotu carded 72-74 and Gerner finished third after firing 72-75 to finish two strokes off the pace.
Through windy conditions as Utah girls high school golf played a two-day state championship event for the first time, that trio was 16 strokes better than the nearest competitor. The course was dictating scores in the 80s or higher, while Sloot, Fotu and Gerner turned in comparatively brilliant performances, with Sloot (and Davis) coming out on top.
Soifua So Good
The 2014 Class 4A girls state golf championships witnessed the welcome to Utah high school golf competition of Provo’s Naomi Soifua. That year, in a one-day state tournament, the Bulldog freshman finished four strokes clear of the field as she shot one-under-par and in the process led her Provo High team to the state title.
The 2015 Bulldogs had enough as a team to repeat atop the final standings, but much of that had to do with their star, Soifua. Despite shooting a 75 in some tough Day 2 conditions at Eagle Mountain Golf Course, Soifua’s opening-round 67 was more than enough cushion as she won by eight shots.
While Davis did it with its depth, with four golfers in the top 13, Provo’s No. 2 finisher was senior Abbey Harward, who tied for 15th in the 4A state tournament. Soifua was so good at the top of the leaderboard that the Bulldogs beat Bountiful by 11 Stableford points, and she’s just a sophomore.
Soifua and Sloot, Provo and Davis girls golf. Our No. 10 story of the year.
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