Eagle Mountain Golf Course Superintendent Spencer Mendenhall was named the UGA’s Superintendent of the Year for public courses
Dedicated greenskeeper earns Superintendent of the Year nod
November 21, 2018 • Sean Hales • Managing Editor
In the recent release of the Utah Golf Association’s annual awards, Brigham City’s Eagle Mountain Golf Course got a nod when the course’s greenskeeper was named Superintendent of the Year for public courses.
According to Eagle Mountain’s Director of Golf Chris Marx, Superintendent Spencer Mendenhall is dedicated to creating superior playing conditions on the course, and has an eye for detail that results in changes most people won’t notice, but contributes to the overall experience of patrons.
Most notable among the changes over Spencer’s three-year tenure at Eagle Mountain are improved greens and sculpted fairways that improve playability and beauty. The golf course’s greens have been argued as being among the best in the state—if not the best—by locals and visitors.
“On a daily basis we have people come into the pro shop and compliment us on the course conditions,” Marx wrote in a letter nominating Mendhenhall. “My favorite compliments are from two different customers from prominent country clubs in the state. They said, ‘This is wrong that I belong to a country club and we can’t have as good as greens as you guys here at Eagle Mountain.’ Spencer has made a marked difference in the daily quality of the greens and the golf course as a whole. The professionals that have played in the Brigham City Open over the years have noticed this also.”
Mendenhall’s dedication to creating a “great course” come from his own passion for the game, and—besides the quality of the greens—the changes he has made are due to a keen eye for detail, including sculpting fairways to improve playability and allowing native grasses in areas of rough to grow out.
Box Elder midfielder known for consistency and reliability signs with SU Red Hawks
Mylan Daniels (seated) looks on as her father, Shawn, signs her letter of intent to play soccer at Seattle University. Also pictured is Pamela Daniels.
As he sits in the coaches office lined with trophies won under former coach Mike Ripplinger, new Box Elder High School wrestling coach Jed Craner said he is aware of the ‘shadow’ cast by Ripplinger’s legacy, and that he is excited for the challenge of continuing it.
The shadow of expectation
It’s difficult—at best—to not be constantly reminded of the legacy and tradition of Box Elder High School’s wrestling program.
“Those trophies,” said first-year Box Elder coach Jed Craner, indicating the several large Spartan-style helmets atop a cabinet—reminders of the many Layton Invitational titles won under retired head coach Mike Ripplinger—“they cast somewhat of a shadow.”
And that’s just inside the coach’s office. The wall of the school’s wrestling room is adorned with names; a litany of the legacy left behind by Ripplinger’s 34-year career.
“It’s intimidating,” said Craner about being asked to fill the very large shoes Ripplinger left behind. And even though he knew the expectations he would face, he said he never had a second thought about taking over Ripplinger’s program.
“It was instantly yes,” Craner said. “I love a challenge...[I’m] ready to take the challenge on.”
Prior to taking the head coaching position at Box Elder, the 27-year-old Craner had spent two years as head coach at Bonneville High School, and was an assistant at Viewmont for five years before that.
Along with his experience as a coach, Craner brings his own legacy of success. As a wrestler at Fremont High School from 2008-2010, Craner claimed the 160-pound 5A state title as a junior, and finished with a record of 48-2. That same year, he claimed third at the Reno World Championships.
As a senior, he compiled an undefeated record of 52-0 and earned his second state title at 170 pounds. He was named outstanding wrestler for the upper weights that year. He placed second at both the Utah State Freestyle Tournament and the Reno World Championships.
Craner said that he perceived a decline in the Box Elder wrestling program over the last several years as the Bees saw fewer and fewer wrestlers make it to the state championship mat. Given that perception, he thought Ripplinger had left the “cupboard bare” following the graduation of three-year state champion Garrett Ricks and Ripplinger’s second four-time state champ, Brock Hardy.
Jed discovered that his perception was not reality (see related story on this page), but even if it had been, he had a good track record of building a team at Bonneville, where in just two years he went from just six returners to a team of more than 40 wrestlers. He also established a strong little league program.
Fumble in final minutes is killer for Bees
October 31, 2018 • Jeremy Jones • Staff Writer
After a season full of them, the Box Elder High School football team couldn’t come up with another final-minute miracle last Friday in their first-round playoff game against Springville as the Red Devils advanced with a 17-13 win.
The Bees were managing a promising drive in the final minutes of the game that became even more promising after converting a fourth down to set themselves up on Springville’s 15-yard line with just over two minutes to play.
But a missed exchange between quarterback Parker Buchanan and running back Bernard Pena resulted in a fumble, which the Red Devils recovered to preserve the win.
After the game, Bees’ head coach Robbie Gunter said that, despite some mistakes, the team executed their game plan and gave themselves a chance to win, which is exactly what they wanted.
“We had a game plan to control the ball tonight,” Gunter said. “We knew [the Red Devils] were a power team, and we did a good job stopping the run. We wanted to keep them off the field and we were able to do that.”
Even heading into the final minutes trailing by a score, coach Gunter said his team never lost any faith on the sideline. He said, “We always felt like we were going to win that game. Late-game heroics are very common for this team and that’s something that has been a lot of fun about this season. We’ve been on the other side of close games a lot, so this one definitely hurts.”
The Bees finished with a big advantage in time of possession, 35:07 - 12:40, and number of offensive plays run, 72 - 32, but were unable to muster enough scoring drives to advance in the tournament.
Senior Ryan Gunn reacts to the Bees’ defeat at the hands of Springville in the first round of the state playoffs last Friday, as junior Bentley Miles consoles senior Kash Christoffersen as they leave the field.
Tyson Madson stretches the ball forward as he’s pushed out of bounds to secure the first down and keep the Bees’ final drive alive. Madson had four receptions for 52 yards.
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