Panthers redeem themselves, win blue trophy

Piedra Vista golfers hold off Cleveland for title

Matt Hollinshead,
After coming up just short last year, the Piedra Vista boys golf team won its first-ever state title Tuesday at Piñon Hills Golf Course in Farmington. It’s also the school’s first-ever 6A state title for any sport.

FARMINGTON — After being forced to see red after last year’s 6A state boys golf championships, Piedra Vista vowed to only see blue today.

Mission accomplished.

The Panthers redeemed themselves from last year’s scorecard error debacle, which led to them being the state runner-up, and finally brought home their first state title in front of the home crowd at the Piñon Hills Golf Course. It’s also the school’s first 6A title in any sport.

“Just to be able to get it done, finally, both days were really stressful. It would’ve hurt pretty bad if we wouldn’t have gotten the job done this year,” junior Trey Diehl said. “I’m just excited. This is what we’ve been working for all year.”

From one hole to the next, from the tee box to the green, PV golfers stayed calm and self-assured. Even as their lead over 2017 state champion Cleveland slowly decreased, the Panthers didn’t wither.

Whenever they started certain holes with multiple bogeys or double-bogeys, it soon shifted to multiple pars.

“They clutched up at the end. They made some great putts coming home,” coach Tom Yost said. “It’s just a five-and-a-half-hour mental grind for those kids. What they did the last couple holes in to secure it, it’s truly amazing.”

The Panthers were so confident with the strides they made going into state, they expected to blow by everyone else.

“That’s pretty much what we’d done all year,” said Diehl, who tied for third place in the individual results.

PV ended the tournament with a three-stroke advantage over Cleveland, but dethroned the defending champions by 45 strokes after Cleveland's Enrique Armijo made a costly scorecard error. Armijo signed for a birdie on the 16th hole instead of a 4.

Nevertheless, PV finally won the blue trophy. Diehl said he was confident that PV had it won when he learned the Panthers had a two-stroke edge for the title entering the 18th and final hole.

Through all the stresses of every shot taken, both short and long, PV golfers kept grinding and won it all.

“We had this whole redemption mentality that we were going to come out and leave no doubt. In the end, they got it done. Kudos to them,” Yost said.

And with all top-five players (Diehl, Tyler Diehl, River Smalley, Quinn Yost and Justin Harris) back for 2019, an even greater idea surfaced.

"I think we can repeat, for sure," Trey Diehl said.

Matt Hollinshead covers sports for the Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577.