SALT LAKE CITY — With a 23-stroke lead entering the second round, Layton Christian Academy was hoping that St. Joseph would not take its revenge from last year. Luckily for the Eagles, they were able to stay consistent and cruise past the competition to earn their second straight title in 1A boys golf.
Layton Christian captured the state title Wednesday at Rose Park Golf Course with a final team score of 622, 41 strokes better than second-place Green River. While this year was a blowout, LCA was still nervous going into the second day and hoped that it would not get a taste of its own medicine.
In last year's 1A Boys State Championship, LCA trailed by nine strokes after the first day only to defeat St. Joseph by 13. While St. Joseph may have been looking for revenge, they just were not enough for the Eagles.
"This year we were on the opposite side of that coin," LCA co-coach Mark Walker said. "We had a 23-stroke advantage coming into today, so it was a question of protecting it."
Along with Alfred Murillo, LCA's other coach, Walker helped coach LCA to its second straight title, marking the first time that the school has accomplished that feat in boys golf.
While Murillo and Walker were influential, it did help that LCA had its three best players come back from last year and that it received a little help from Thailand. Sophomore Jaece Stokes, senior Austin Geddings, and Nick Norton each played in last year's tournament and the addition of Jitpanu Issaravanich, an exchange student from Thailand, made LCA nearly unbeatable.
"I'm just excited for the players," Murillo said. "We were fortunate that we had the same team basically coming back."
Each of LCA's four main players made the all-state team by placing in the top 10 at state while Rich and Green River each had two. Stokes and Geddings provided the Eagles with a one-two punch as they took second and third, respectively.
"All year (Stokes) pushed me to play better," Geddings said. "He definitely sets the bar high."
While Stokes and Geddings helped lock up the team victory with individual scores of 149 and 153, respectively, St. Joseph's Jared Kenny medaled in state with an individual score of 146 to get his own personal revenge over his fellow competitors.
In last year's competition, both Stokes and Geddings had good second days at state to take first and second, respectively, while Kenny took third.
This time around, Kenny was ready to take charge as he birdied his first hole and captured the individual victory.
"We've gone back and forth all year," Kenny said of his friend Stokes. "It feels good to get on top."