It had been since 1996 since Wendover High School had won a state championship — in any sport.
But Wednesday afternoon, Avre Gomez, Easton Tangaro and their four teammates packed a second UHSAA-sponsored trophy into their bus and made their way 120 miles west across the desert from the Rose Park Golf Course, where they hoped a special greeting was waiting for them after they made history near the end of a grueling school year.
“I didn’t expect us to be here,” said Tangaro, a senior who just missed winning a state title two months ago at the 1A basketball tournament.
Few others did either. Coach Nick Tangaro said because of Wendover’s enrollment, and the popularity of other spring sports like soccer and track and field, the school has had trouble fielding even a four-member team.
“We’ve been waiting to build this group together. Most of the kids are out there (playing golf) every day. With this, maybe we’ll be able to field a team next year, as well.” — Wendover coach Nick Tangaro
Four years ago, when Easton Tangaro was a freshman, his father convinced him to play and he improved so much during his sophomore season that he was hooked.
“This year, we went up against some Region 20 teams and we knew we could compete,” he said. “At state, we kept it really simple. If you win your group, we win state. We just went out and tried to perform our best.”
Wendover finished the two-day tournament in 710 strokes. Valley was second with 711, followed by Milford (727), Piute (755), Manila (764), Wayne (755) and Rich (795).
Manila’s Brody Schofield earned medalist honors, carding an impressive 73 on the final day.
Wendover and Valley, however, had the most depth and each school’s competitiveness was noticed as they glared at each other just before the results were tabulated. Wendover’s Gomez shot identical scores of 78 each day, and Easton Tangaro followed a personal-best 79 Tuesday with an 81. Trejin Tangaro, Jayden Murphy, Sabastian Dorado and Felipe Dorado also helped add a keepsake to the school’s trophy cabinet, which has plenty of region and other awards, but its only state trophy was won by its baseball team in 1996.
“We’ve been waiting to build this group together,” Nick Tangaro said. “Most of the kids are out there (playing golf) every day. With this, maybe we’ll be able to field a team next year, as well.”
Wendover was also the lone school that didn’t bring team shirts that helped set the other schools apart. Nick Tangaro said they had sweatshirts made at the start of the season, and they were fine when the weather was cooler, but the 80-degree conditions at Rose Park made them too uncomfortable.
“I almost had one of our boys pass out during a meet because of them,” he said. “We had to pull him off the course because it was too hot.”
The state championship T-shirts given to the players afterward made all of that a distant memory.
1A boys state golf tournament
At Rose Park Golf Course, Salt Lake
1. Wendover, 710; 2. Valley, 711; 3. Milford, 727; 4. Piute, 755; 5. Manila, 764; 6. Wayne, 775; 7. Rich, 795.
- Brody Schofield (Manila) 78-73-151; 2. Conner Chamberlain (Valley) 81-74-155; 3. Avre Gomez (Wendover) 78-78-156; 4. Easton Tangaro (Wendover) 79-81-160; 5. Kyden Peters (Milford) 86-77-163; 6. Jake Jorgensen (Mount Vernon) 79-86-165; 7. Cooper Chamberlain (Valley) 85-87-172; 8. Noah Perry (Rich) 88-86-174; 9. Preston Olsen (Piute) 84-90-174; 10. Rhyder Ambrose (Milford) 90-88-178.