Region 9 golfers teeing it up this week

ST. GEORGE – With summer winding down and school about to commence, attention now turns to all things sports related. This Thursday sees the arrival of the 2012-2013 boys golf season and with it a slew of unanswered questions – not to mention unmitigated possibilities.

Region 9’s golfers are set to tee off at Sun River and this year has the potential to deliver a potent package of young stars, many of whom are capable enough to walk away with the state trophy.

“We all practiced a lot,” said Pine View star Andrew Shopinski. “They want to be good like I do, and have the same competitive urge and desire to win. That’s what makes it great – we all go out there and play hard and get better each day and try to come out on top.”

Shopinski, once a young freshman with a 105 season average, is banking on finishing strong in his senior season – a credible task given his sensational play last year.

“I feel like my game’s gotten progressively better each year. I feel like I’m a smarter player,” her said.

Still, even Shopinski knows he faces stiff Region 9 competition.

“A.J. Orchard is coming back to Dixie. He qualified for the State tournament as an individual last year. So I expect him to be really good this year,” Shopinski said. “Brandt Pierce and Hayden Hayward are on our team. Joey Sargent at Snow Canyon is one of my best friends and he’s a great player. He and I are always flip-flopping around. And Austin Sweany … Snow Canyon’s got some good players.”

Indeed, perhaps the Warriors offer the most potential with a slew of returning seniors, each promising to bring more to the table than last season.

“Seeing what my teammates have done these past few weeks makes me think we could win state,” said Sweany. “I’ve played with all of these kids my whole life. We’ll see what happens.”

Another hopeful is Desert Hills golfer Quincy Matthews, who will lead a much different Thunder squad than last season.

“Desert Hills was the best team in Region 9 last year,” Dixie coach Eron Deming said. “I don’t know where they’ll be – I know they lost some players – but I know Snow Canyon and Pine View will be really good teams and have a really good chance up at state.”

Shopinski likewise felt his team could do some real damage, but wasn’t about to make any bold predictions.

“I’m just going to go out and focus on each tournament one at a time,” he said. “I have expectations to win tournaments. Hopefully I can take my game all the way to state and hopefully I can help my team win.

“I just hope the weather’s better at state this year. Last season it was horrible.”

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Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2012, all rights reserved.

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