The Mingus golf team has been busy over the past couple of week, and they are improving with every hole.
On Sept. 14 the Marauders hosted their annual Mingus Invitational at the Sedona Golf Resort. Out of the eight elite teams invited to the event, Mingus improved on their last-place finish last year with a fifth place finish.
On the cloudy and sometimes stormy day, the rain cleared up in time for Mingus to have the event.
Arcadia took the top spot with a score of 329, followed by Westview with 339, Centennial with 344, Sunrise Mountain with 347 and Mingus rounding out the top five with a score of 349.
Pat Moran shot an 81 to lead the Marauders on the 18-holes. Alex Ronyak shot an 89, Nick Muehlhausen came in with a 92 and Ryan Rolland was right behind the group with a 93.
All of Mingus' golf team improved dramatically since last year and have shown great improvement so far this season.
The Sedona course is a difficult one for any golfer, whether they are a novice or experienced player. Course is 2.3 miles up hill toward the 9th hole, then the teams walked back down another 2.3 miles for quite a workout during the invitational.
Five days later, on Sept. 19, the Mingus golfers played at Sunrise Mountain. Sunrise Mountain came in first with a 209, followed by Sunnyslope with a 213 and Mingus with a 235.
Moran shot a 40, again leading the Marauder pack. Josh Sauntman had a good day with a 46, followed by Ronyak with a 47, Rolland with a 50 and Muehlhausen with a 52.
"We have just finished the first month of play," said coach John Uidenich. "Every game we are knocking off a few strokes here and there."
Then, on Saturday the Mingus team put in one of their best performances of the year against a 24-team field at the Buckeye Invitational.
The Marauders managed a 14th place finish against mainly 5A schools. Desert Highlands out of Gilbert won the event.
Moran had a phenomenal game and finished 10th overall with a 77. Muelhausen followed with an 81 and finished within the top 20 out of the over 120-player field. The 81 was also the best score he had golfed this season.
Ronyak hit an 83, Sauntman scored a 92 and freshman Dillon Fielitz hit an even 100 (47-53). It was the first time he's been under 50 on nine holes and he looks like he'll help quite a bit on next year's team.
On Thursday, Mingus played in at the Pine Wood course in Munds Park. It's a challenging private 9-hole course.
"I am real please with the team's performances," said coach Uidenich. "Practice is going well. We also have the opportunity to practice on other courses around the Verde Valley to practice on sand traps and thick rough. We try to take advantage of all courses in the valley."
On Tuesday, Mingus practiced at the Beaver Creek golf course. The course is tree-lined and gives them some extra practice on a course that resembles the one they will be playing on at State.
"Everyone is improving their game and keeping healthy," said coach Uidenich. "We are having so much un out there. October, there is no better time in Arizona to play golf."