Hamilton golf

Hamilton’s golf program won its third consecutive state title under head coach Steve Kanner this season, running away from competition in Tucson.

Heading into the 2021 season, Steve Kanner won eight state titles and three national championships at Hamilton High School.

After his Huskies Men’s Golf squad beat 51 schools at the Bart Granger Memorial in Texas, he knew the group was capable of a special season.

“That was really the highlight of the regular season,” Kanner said. “That really spurred us on. It really just confirmed in our minds that we were a strong team and someone to reckon with here in Arizona.”

On Nov. 4, Kanner’s team proved him right. Hamilton brought home its third consecutive and ninth overall state title in the Division I State Golf Championship at the Omni Tucson National. Five Huskies golfers finished with 10 of the best scores — including the top four.

Hamilton played five tournaments ahead of the state championship and won two of them. A Huskies golfer finished in the top four in four of the contests, including junior Wyatt Chapman’s first place finish in the Hamilton Invitational.

Chapman, who couldn’t play until the Bart Granger Memorial due to transferring from Casteel High School, joined Hamilton because of the team’s talent and his interest in pursuing college golf. Alongside players such as senior Mahanth Chirravuri and junior Anawin Pikulthong, committed to the University of Southern California and Arizona State University, respectively, Chapman played his way onto an impressive roster of some of the state’s top high school golfers.

“The level of skill at Hamilton is just unreal,” Chapman said. “We’ll just keep pushing each other like we did all season. Because at the end of the day, we all want to beat each other. That’s just kind of the mindset. It’s a really good (one) and that motivates us to practice.”

Despite the upcoming graduation of Chirravuri and Nick Lippe, sophomore Vincent Cervantes — the top individual golfer at the state championship (134) — is optimistic that the team will continue its success. A glimpse at the Huskies’ future came at the Hamilton Invitational.

Without Chirravuri, Cervantes and Pikulthong due to their participation in individual tournaments, Hamilton took on five other schools at the Bear Creek Golf Complex in Chandler.

Chapman and Lippe tied for first — Chapman won on a scorecard playoff — Kush Shah finished fifth and Jaylen Choi placed ninth. 

“Winning that tournament, it really showed the depth of our team,” Lippe — a senior — said, “(and) that we have a lot of skill.”

Throughout the season, Kanner witnessed the development of his championship squad and recognized their camaraderie. He credited the team with a “tremendous” work ethic and a drive to improve on the course.

From the practice range to the weight room, the longtime coach saw how his team was enjoying the process of improving.

“That really says a lot about them,” Kanner said. “To be able to do that and then carry it over in a competitive environment like a tournament collectively, not only individually.”

This mentality was evident in the state championship. The Huskies won by 27 strokes. The top four finishers — all Huskies — all shot between a 134 and a 140. Hamilton’s fifth golfer — Lippe — shot a 144 and finished tied for seventh place.

Its success in Tucson continued a historical streak for the program, as the Huskies made the postseason for the 23rd year. It also created new marks. According to Kanner, Cervantes is the first sophomore to win since Richard Lee, a 31-year-old Hamilton graduate who currently plays on the Asian Tour.

Despite Brophy College Preparatory winning the first two tournaments of the season, Hamilton’s five golfers and late season victories have continued to establish it as the elite program of Arizona high school golf.

Two of those five are Chirravuri and Lippe, who recently concluded their final seasons of high school golf.

“We both played all three state championships that we won the last three years,” Lippe said. “We’ve contributed a lot to the team and helped bring back a lot of wins. I feel like we’ve been a part of a lot of winning tournaments.”

Even though the season doesn’t start until next fall, Cervantes is excited for the upcoming campaign and expressed confidence in the returning roster.

“Next year, we’ll do our best and give it all we got,” Cervantes said.

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