Can PV prolong run as state golf power?

Matt Hollinshead,
Piedra Vista's River Smalley, seen here competing at the Durango High tournament on Sept. 11, 2018, is among the key returners for the Panthers entering the 2019 spring season. PV looks to win back-to-back state golf championships.

FARMINGTON — The Piedra Vista Panthers eye back-to-back state golf championships in 2019, but they don’t want Trey Diehl, Tyler Diehl and River Smalley’s impending graduations to mark the end of a remarkable three-year reign.

The foundation of being a state golf powerhouse is taking shape, and PV looks to be in the blue trophy conversations for the long run.

“Every one of these guys has invested their heart and soul in this program, and it’s showing,” coach Tom Yost said.

With its core group of the Diehl brothers, Smalley, Justin Harris and Quinn Yost intact for 2019, PV’s currently in win-now mode. 

The Panthers, whose state title defense starts 9 a.m. Monday at Riverview Golf Course in Kirtland, already have one state runner-up and one state championship, respectively, the last two years.

Relaxed and confident after getting that first blue trophy, PV’s primed to win it all again.

"We worked so hard just to get that ring, because of the redemption and everything (after 2017). The grinding and everything we've done just to get that trophy, we're good," Harris said. "I want to just keep (that success) going. I really want to see that happen, man."

Quinn Yost is currently recovering from a broken right shin he suffered more than three weeks ago while skiing, making the timeline for his 2019 debut uncertain. In his absence, Aidan Miller will have a larger role at least for this first bit of 2019.

Underclassmen like Connor Tyson and Sebastian Massey will also see extra playing time in 2019, giving the Panthers an idea what the future will look like.

And the fact that Harris and Quinn Yost, who will return in 2020, experienced winning state in 2018 gives Tom Yost immediate optimism entering the near future.

"I have no worries and no doubts that we're going to continue to roll. We're going to be right in the mix (each year at state)," the fourth-year coach said.

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