Print Mingus golf looks to improve after sub-par ’07
Written by Brian Bergner   
Wednesday, 27 August 2008 12:15

Despite last year’s sub-par season in which only one golfer qualified for a 4A-II state berth, the Mingus Union High golf team is looking to vastly improve what they do, on and off the course, this season.

“Attitude and etiquette is everything. We are looking to compete, but also treat our competitors well. We have expectations in excelling and achieving excellence on the course, and in the classroom,” first year Mingus Head Coach Craig Mai said.

Mai took the helm in May just before school let out after 20-year Head Coach John Uidenich decided to call it a wonderful career and retire.
Mai was his assistant for eight years, learning the ropes and waiting for the one day when he would get his chance to lead.

That time has come.

“I’m pleased to follow in John’s footsteps. I’m excited to be here in this position,” Mai said.

This season, Mai believes his team can be great on the golf course, especially since many of the young golfers have exceeded some of his expectations already in preseason practice.

Top returners

Senior Ryan Roland leads the way for this year’s 2008 Mingus golf team, and he’s hoping to improve on his 55th overall place at the 4A-II state meet last November.

“I think we should be pretty good this year. Last year we were in the high 40s as a team and we are already shooting in the low 40s during the first couple weeks,” Roland said.

The other two top returners to this year’s Marauders golf squad are junior Richard Paynter and sophomore standout Wally Wilburn, who competed well last season as a freshman.

Paynter believes this team is capable of passing Flagstaff High on the links this season, and possibly even catching Sinagua High.

“I think we’re good enough to get both Flagstaff and Sinagua this season,” Paynter said.

Top newcomers

The Marauders have a few new faces this season and are looking to find a place for them to play.

“We have four to five kids ready and willing to play golf for us, and I believe they can be good,” Mai said.

Senior Dillon Felitz leads the way with juniors Dalton Malone and Jazmine Roland not too far behind and two freshmen, J.C. Lawler and Logan Reay, could be good for years to come.

Mai said he’s seen steady improvement from all of his new golfers, and looks forward to working with them this season and the very near future.

The schedule

Mingus has plenty of competition on the early schedule, so the Marauders should find out right away how good they really are.

The players are looking forward to the very first match of the year on Tuesday, Sept. 2, when Mingus invites Coconino High, Flagstaff and Page for a little golf at the Oakcreek Golf Course in the Village of Oak Creek.
The other two “home matches” will play out on Tuesday, Oct. 7, as Mingus invites Bradshaw Mountain High, Greenway High and Sandra Day O’Connor High. That match will be held at the Verde Santa Fe Golf Course in Cornville.

The last home meet of the season will be on Friday, Oct. 24, where the Marauders will face Bradshaw Mountain, Coconino, Flagstaff, Page and Sinagua at the Verde Santa Fe Golf Course.
Final word

Look for the Marauders golf team to compete for a 4A-II Grand Canyon Region title and for a few players to hopefully qualify for the state meet in November.

Brian Bergner Jr. can be reached at 282-7795, ext. 131, or e-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it