From an outsider's perspective, it looks as though Mike McCrady has an impossible job.
The Rocky Mountain High coach has four golfers who have signed or verbally committed to play for Division I programs, but only one of those boys can start in the Grizzlies' No. 1 spot.
So how does McCrady choose between the ultra-competitive golfers without creating animosity and derailing their team goals?
"Their camaraderie and their connection and their brotherhood takes care of all that," McCrady said. "They don't ever have egos with each other with regard to my decisions."
Besides, it's not where you start but where you finish.
On Wednesday, it was senior Sam Tidd who finished first from the Grizzlies' No. 2 spot at Centennial Golf Course in Nampa. The Oklahoma signee and defending state champion carded a 4-under 68 to lead Rocky Mountain to its fourth straight 5A District Three Tournament championship.
"It definitely pushes us to be better and work harder together every single day," said Tidd, who had seven birdies and an eagle. "When we're just trying to beat each other, then when we put our scores together, we end up having a good team score."
The Grizzlies swept the top three individual places as 2017 district champion Carson Barry (Oregon State) was second at 2-under 70 and Drew Reinke (Chico State) took third with a 71. Sophomore Jake Slocum, an Iowa State commit, rounded out the scoring for Rocky with a 76 — good enough for sixth overall.
"Sam's a great player and we always have fun competing with each other," said Barry, the 2016 individual state champion. "Today was just frustrating because of how I played. I hit it so good and I just didn't make a putt to save my life."
Barry was among the last group to tee off Wednesday. Golfers had to wait out a 30-minute storm delay in the afternoon, and that left the final group racing to finish before darkness.
"I finished probably like 20 minutes before Carson. It was getting dark, but I didn't know if he was going to finish," Tidd said. "It would have sucked to have to come out (Thursday) to watch Carson play one hole."
The Grizzlies didn't have to delay their championship celebration. The final group of golfers rolled into the clubhouse just as the sun was setting.
Rocky Mountain's combined 3-under 285 provided a 22-shot cushion over second-place Mountain View (307), and the Grizzlies will be heavy favorites to win a third consecutive state title next week. Boise (317) and Eagle (326) also qualify for state, which is Monday and Tuesday at Lewiston Golf and Country Club.
It will be the fourth trip to state in a row for Rocky seniors Tidd, Barry and Reinke.
"I feel like we all play our best golf when we're having fun together," Reinke said. "That will be a big part of it, too. Just go out there, enjoy the moment, embrace it and have some fun with it."
Eagle girls win by narrowest of margins
As the No. 5 golfer for Eagle High, Drue Carlson's score doesn't always play a factor in the Mustangs' final team total.
But the Mustangs don't consider Carlson a fifth wheel. She's more like a spare that comes through in an emergency.
Carlson performed her role to perfection Tuesday afternoon, carding an 83 to preserve Eagle's one-stroke victory over Boise in the 5A District Three Tournament at Centennial Golf Course in Nampa.
"You could feel the electricity, because we knew we were ahead by one with one girl to go," Eagle coach John Hartz said. "And we knew both fives could beat scores that were on the board."
Boise's No. 5, Claire Whitman, finished with an 86 to lower the Braves' total from 320 to 318. But thanks to Carlson's 83, the Mustangs dropped two strokes — from 319 to 317 — to win their first district title since racking up three in a row from 2003 to 2005.
"I was happy because it was 10 better than what I shot last year at districts," Carlson said. "But we support each other no matter what score we shoot."
Eagle and Boise advance to state next Monday and Tuesday at Lewiston Golf and Country Club along with third-place Timberline (335) and fourth-place Rocky Mountain (341).
"I think we're going to give it our best shot, and we'll see what happens," Carlson said. "We just can't get cocky though. That never works out."
Fifteen-year-old Boise freshman Emily Cadwell, who attends North Junior High, gave the Braves a big cushion at the start, carding a 2-under 70. After teeing off in the first group, Cadwell's score stood as the lowest round of the day. She finished seven strokes ahead of Timberline's Sydney Catlin and Eagle's Christine Cho, who each shot 77s.
While Cadwell had hoped to celebrate a team title along with her individual win, the second-place finish is a convenient motivator heading into state.
"These girls work together. They motivate each other," Boise girls coach Chloe Foster said. "It is disappointing that they lost, but this is going to push them even harder at state. They want it so bad."
Bishop Kelly sweeps titles
The Bishop Kelly High boys golf team kept the competition for medalist honors in-house, and every Knight went home a winner.
Bishop Kelly recorded the top three individual scores to win the 4A District Three Tournament team championship for the fifth year in a row. Junior Alec Dykas claimed the individual title with an even-par 71, finishing just ahead of teammates Nic Roberts (72) and Jeran Lofto (74) on Monday at RedHawk Golf Course in Nampa.
"I thought Nic won. He was behind me (on the course), so I talked to him all day," Dykas said. "He was ahead of me all day (on the scoreboard), so I wasn't really worrying about winning."
Roberts, the Knights' No. 1 golfer who missed the past two weeks of the season with pneumonia, could have forced a playoff with Dykas if he had birdied his final hole. Instead, Roberts had to settle for par.
"We're just happy to have him back," Bishop Kelly boys coach Steve Judy said. "He did really well for not playing golf for two weeks."
The defending 4A state champion Knights totaled a 12-over 300 — their best team score of the season — and will be joined at state by Ridgevue (328) and Skyview (329). Dykas and Roberts are the only returning lettermen from last year's title team.
Meanwhile, the Bishop Kelly girls put an end to Middleton's run of three straight district titles, compiling a team total of 358 for a 21-stroke victory over the Vikings (379). BK senior Lizzy Godinho collected her second individual championship in three seasons with a 9-over 80.
"We've been the bridesmaid and not the bride, so we're happy," Bishop Kelly girls coach Michelle Judy said. "We really have a lot of girls who have a lot of pure talent, and they've been working that."
BK and Middleton advance to state next Monday and Tuesday at Idaho Club Golf Course in Sandpoint. The Vikings edged Ridgevue for the final team berth by just four strokes.
Monday's district title was the first for the BK girls since 2014, which also coincides with their most recent state championship. Godinho, a senior, was fourth at the district tournament last season and won it as a sophomore.
"Last year I definitely struggled at districts," Godinho said. "It was fun to be able to come back this year and show that I could regain that title."
Fruitland boys, Weiser girls win
The Fruitland boys held off Homedale by four strokes, while the Weiser girls enjoyed an 83-shot victory in the 3A District Three Tournament on Monday at Scotch Pines Golf Course in Payette.
Both individual championships came down to a playoff. Daniel Uranga (73) of Homedale won the boys title, and Emma Davidson (91) of Weiser was first on the girls side.
Cole Valley earns sweep
The Cole Valley Christian boys and girls handily won the 2A District Three Tournament team championships on Monday at Lakeview in Meridian.
The Chargers' Jack Curran carded a 73 to beat teammate Keegan Spengler by three strokes for the individual boys title. Carly Carter of Ambrose shot a 76 to win the girls championship.
5A DISTRICT THREE MEET
At Centennial, Nampa
(All to state)
1, Sam Tidd, Rocky Mtn, 68. 2, Carson Barry, Rocky Mtn, 70. 3, Drew Reinke, Rocky Mtn, 71. 4, Seth Jones, Mtn View, 75. 5, Hunter Eberhardt, Mtn View, 76. 6, Jake Slocum, Rocky Mtn, 76. 7, Skyler Cook, Kuna, 77. 8, Wyatt Allen, Kuna, 77. 9, Avery Falash, Mtn View, 77. 10, Joe Gustavel, Boise, 78. 11, Tanner Helms, Eagle, 78. 12, Nathan Barkin, Eagle, 78. 13, Edgar Vargas, Nampa, 78.
(Top 4 to state)
Rocky Mountain (285) — Carson Barry 70, Sam Tidd 68, Drew Reinke 71, Jake Slocum 76.
Mountain View (307) — Seth Jones 75, Avery Falash 77, Hunter Eberhardt 76, Connor Mahoney 79.
Boise (317) — Scott Michael 79, Joe Gustavel 78, Quinn Haigwood 80, Jonas Habig 80.
Eagle (326) — Tanner Helms 78, Nathan Barkin 78, Eric Wilson 84, Davis Sahr 86.
Nampa (338) — Edgar Vargas 78, Justin Radford 85, Hyrum Garner 85, Grant Roberts 90.
Timberline (347) — Ben Arnzen 84, John Wadner 81, Sean Gibson 89, Garrett Grondahl 93.
Kuna (353) — Skyler Cook 77, Wyatt Allen 77, Jesse Hobson 101, Drew Thompson 98.
Borah (358) — Kooper Tharp 87, Conner Pierce 92, Noah Collins 93, Brock Rosetti 86.
Centennial (361) — Trent Brown 91, Royal Madison 89, Isaiah Eddins 85, Jaiden Pinckney 96.
Meridian (370) — Brett Littrell 83, RJ Beeson 85, Trent Bakow 95, Byron Pearce 107.
Capital (381) — Josh Boettcher 85, Jack Gambassi 94, Logan Lawrence 88, Dakotah Pavelek 114.
Columbia (496) — Dillon Kellar 97, Micah Becker 112, John Dinh 143, Franco Pedro 144.
5A DISTRICT THREE MEET
At Centennial, Nampa
(All to state)
1, Emily Cadwell, Boise, 70. 2, Sydney Catlin, Timberline, 77 (won playoff). 3, Christine Cho, Eagle, 77. 4, Livvy Nuxoll, Boise, 78. 5, Tess Cowley, Eagle, 78. 6, Kelsee Fleming, Meridian 78. 7, Elle McCord, Eagle, 79. 8, Maddie Cudworth, Timberline, 80. 9, Heather Kivi, Rocky Mountain, 82. 10, Madison Gridley, Rocky Mountain, 82. 11, Ainsley Terada, Rocky Mountain, 82. 12, Drue Carlson, Eagle, 83. 13, Kate Goulet, Boise, 84. 14, Grace Simanton, Centennial, 84.
(Top 4 to state)
Eagle (317) — Christine Cho 77, Tess Cowley 78, Elle McCord 79, Drue Carlson 83.
Boise (318) — Emily Cadwell 70, Livvy Nuxoll 78, Kate Goutlet 84, Claire Whitman 86.
Timberline (335) — Maddie Cudworth 80, Sydney Catlin 77, Alex Gordon 85, Anna Gard 93.
Rocky Mountain (341) — Heather Kivi 82, Madison Gridley 82, Ainsley Terada 82, Ashley Hoppe 95.
Centennial (371) — Grace Simanton 84, Katie Tidwell 99, Hannah Dupay 94, Audrey Parker 94.
Kuna (401) — Kolbie Warr 98, Stacey Warr 88, Jessica Erickson 102, Jill Donerkie 113.
Meridian (412) — Kelsee Fleming 78, Payton Thomas 102, Kassidy Kleinkopf 108, Taylor DeMasters 124.
Mountain View (420) — Mandy Masters 102, Brianne Glenn 92, Sydnie Robins 113, Emily Burch 113.
Capital (431) — Alexa Johnson 101, Emily Horner 105, Alyssa Thomas 93, Camryn Layer 122.
Nampa (495) — Selah Peterson 119, Ellie Cleaver 115, Maddi Glauser 131, Claire Garner 130.
Borah (576) — Kate Kulchak 131, Zulema Gumb 144, Mykahla Woolum 159, Audrey Escobar 142.
Columbia (NS) — Corrine Clark 114, Susan Waskosky 130, Riley Gonzalez 129.