High school golf: Mountain View reloads with young, talented squad

Present and future look solid for Mountain View Thunder golf

The Mountain View Thunder can drive, even though most of the team members cannot legally drive. 

A young golf squad, the Thunder are booming drives, hitting precise approach shots, and sinking putts on the way to another successful season for the program.

This year’s Mountain View golf team is young, but the talent means the Thunder still have high expectations. From left to right: Spencer Moody, Kian Iverson, Braden Kendrick, Alex Rigby, and Grady Millar. Photo by Paul Valencia
This year’s Mountain View golf team is young, but the talent means the Thunder still have high expectations. From left to right: Spencer Moody, Kian Iverson, Braden Kendrick, Alex Rigby, and Grady Millar. Photo by Paul Valencia

Mountain View can lock up another league title this week. Next week, the Thunder are hoping to claim their fifth consecutive district team crown.

And if they do that, well, the sky’s the limit for a program that missed out on a chance at major glory prior to the pandemic.

The 2019-20 Mountain View boys golf team might have been the best in program history. Led by a former state champion, Graham Moody, that team was poised to top Mountain View’s best previous finish at state, which was fourth place. 

COVID-19 crushed those plans. No state tournament in 2020. And no tournament in 2021, either. 

Those talented Thunder from those years? Graduated. Off to college.

“That was the best team I’ve ever had,” Mountain View coach Jim Peterson said. “They got robbed of a legitimate chance at a state title.”

Next up, a group that just might be even more talented.

Peterson said that he thought this might be a rebuilding year. He has seven freshmen on the squad, including three in his top five. They lost their first match of the season, too.

Since then, though, the Thunder have been impressive.

“We have four league/district titles in a row. This team could get us to eight,” Peterson said. “We’re built for that. This team is surprising.”

This is still golf, this is still competition, so nothing is assured. But Mountain View’s recent golf history has led to a strong present and a promising future.

“It would be important,” freshman Grady Millar said of taking the Class 3A district title again. “We’ve won it the last four years. We’re looking to keep that streak alive.”

“We want to leave behind a legacy of four to eight,” said freshman Spencer Moody, younger brother of Graham.

(By the way, when asked if he is better than his older brother, Spencer calmly, cooly replied: “Give me time.”)

Give this Mountain View team some time, the Thunder just might do something no other Mountain View team has accomplished.

“I want to go ahead and win state,” said sophomore Alex Rigby.

They also want to perform well for their coach. For Moody and Millar, this is the first time playing team golf for a school. They appreciate that Peterson has high expectations for them.

“It’s very reassuring, having someone who is there who believes that we can do great,” Spencer Moody said. “It’s definitely a huge confidence booster.”

“He helps with our mental game,” Millar said. “It means a lot for us to keep the legacy alive for Coach.”

Rigby noted Peterson is the reason he is playing for Mountain View. Rigby is home-schooled and was not sure he was eligible to play. Peterson said yes, Rigby could play for his in-boundary school team. So here he is, helping the Thunder.

This fall season, however, is not the first time these three have teamed up together. 

The Washington Junior Golf Association held a state tournament in May, with three-member squads. The Rigby-Millar-Moody trio finished fourth. Oh, and those three older Mountain View players? Willy Yeh-Graham Moody-Tyler Klepec finished sixth.

The younger Thunder enjoyed telling that story.

Yes, the Mountain View future is in good hands.

They also all enjoy team golf.

“It’s a lot different having to play for a group of people, and having people come out and support you when you play,” Spencer Moody said. “I find it more enjoyable than just normal singles.”

Rigby likes the extra stress.

“You don’t want to let your team down. There is a lot more pressure involved,” Rigby said. “In a normal tournament, it’s yourself. If you don’t do good, it’s whatever. With a team, your score makes a bigger impact.”

Millar said he appreciates being part of something bigger than just himself while he is on the course.

“It feels like you are representing your school and the people that you know,” he said. “I like that part of it. It makes it a different experience.”

They all share a love for golf, as well. While still years away, they have the goal of playing in college one day.

Moody said he appreciates how his performance depends on the time and effort he puts into the game.

“I can’t blame it on external factors,” he said. “It’s all riding on me and how well prepared I am.”

Rigby said he loves the social aspect of golf, being about to come out every day to hang out with friends. 

“All I do is pretty much play golf,” he said. “My life revolves around golf no matter where I go or what I do. Pretty much all my friends are my golfing friends.”

Millar thrives on the daily challenge, and not just in competition.

“I like how golf is fun and exciting to practice every day to get better,” he said, noting that he has been practicing or playing as often as he can since he was 3 years old.

They’ve all been playing the game for years. Now they are old enough to be on the Mountain View High school golf team. And they’re ready to do some big things for the Thunder, including, just maybe, a top-three finish at state as a team one day. Maybe even a state title.

“It would be really great just being able to bring that to the next level and leave behind something that will last as long as Mountain View lasts,” Moody said.

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