Desert Vista senior Cody McManus is heading to Pepperdine on a golf scholarship.

AFN File

Cody McManus just might have earned the most prized athletic scholarship out there.

There are some who might believe playing football in the Southeastern Conference is as good as it gets, and others might lean toward playing hoops at North Carolina or Duke.

But it is awful hard to beat a golf scholarship at Pepperdine University.

Who wouldn't love "free" golf - if you can call practicing every day, with workouts mixed in, to ensure a repeatable swing free - at some of the most prestigious courses in the West, while getting an education at one of the most scenic campuses in the world?

"Can you imagine?" Desert Vista coach Paige Peterson said. "I am so happy for him and excited to see what he can do."

The Desert Vista senior just finished one of the school's best golf careers, where his season average was under par - 71.3 - in tournament play and led to him being named to the All-Tribune first team.

"I am proud of a lot of things I did, but it was hard finishing second (as a team) at so many times (three)," said McManus, who finished fifth at the Division I tournament, and shot a 64 at a Flagstaff tournament this season. "I've improved a lot with my long game over my career. I was pretty good with my short game early on, but when I became more consistent with my driver and irons I thought I had a chance to get a scholarship.

"Pepperdine is an incredible place and I can't wait to start playing at that level."

Teammate Randy Ross, a sophomore who finished sixth at the Division I state tournament, and Mountain Pointe junior Austin Fletcher, who averaged 36.4 per nine holes, were named second-team All-Trib.

"Austin had another tremendous season at Mountain Pointe," Pride coach Tony Ramseyer said. "He was the No. 1 golfer on our team all season, our MVP, and had the lowest nine-hole average and placed in the top 15 (tied for 13th) at state this year. He has improved each year and should have a tremendous off season and senior year."

Pride senior Darian Spivey earned first-team All-Trib for the girls team as the Northern Arizona recruit finished a strong career with a top 10 finish.

"Darian is very consistent in her scoring and was a player we could depend on to bring in the low scores," Mountain Pointe coach Carol Wallace said. "She was a natural leader for our team. She led by example as a person of character and an excellent athlete.

"It was neat to see her game mature to the next level for competitive college golf. I am sure she will have much success ahead of her at NAU."

Desert Vista senior Kassidy Long-Goheen went head-to-head with Spivey all through their careers. She heads to Idaho as a second-team All-Trib pick.

"One thing that really comes to mind with Kassidy is that she was never satisfied with her game or a round, she always worked to improve," Thunder coach Pierson Hamilton said. "But, unlike a lot of golfers with her intensity, she has a great sense of humor, laughed a lot and found enjoyment in her teammates and in the game of golf."

Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or Follow him on Twitter @JSkodaAFN.

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