by Walter & Becky Bird
With the Monticello High School winter sports season officially in the books and many athletes relaxing on Spring Break this week, we take the time to look ahead to the imminent spring sports seasons for baseball, track and field, and golf.
Heading into the 2019 season, coach Steve Draper hopes to build on a very successful 2018 season that saw Monticello go 13-7 overall and 8-4 in 2A North division play.
This record was good enough for a third-place finish and qualified the team for the state tournament.
In the first round of the 2A state tournament, the Bucks rode the arm of Kayden Draper and scored four runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to stun the Parowan Rams 10-9 and advance to the second round.
A 19-0 loss to Beaver dropped the team from the winner’s bracket and another loss to Parowan 13-7 in the one-loss bracket ended the Bucks’ season.
Instead of having all 2A teams compete in two divisions, in 2019, 2A baseball will feature three divisions. The 2A North will consist of the Altamont Longhorns, the Duchesne Eagles, the Layton Christian Eagles, and the North Summit Braves.
The 2A South consists of the Kanab Cowboys, the Enterprise Wolves, the Parowan Rams, the Milford Tigers, and the Beaver Beavers.
This season, Monticello will compete in the 2A Central division along with the North Sevier Wolves, the Gunnison Valley Bulldogs, and the Millard Eagles.
The Deseret News predicts a fourth-place finish in the division for Monticello. Gunnison is predicted to finish first.
The Bucks will officially kick off the season at home on Wednesday, March 20 when they host the 3A Grand County Red Devils.
2A Central play begins on Tuesday, March 26 when the Bucks host the North Sevier Wolves in a double-header.
Hopefully the snow will clear before then so the boys can get a successful season rolling.
Track and Field
An abundance of snow is also a challenge for the Monticello boys and girls track teams, as they look to improve on their respective finishes last spring at state.
In 2018, the boys track team came-up just short of capturing Monticello’s second 1A state track and field title since the school’s only top finish in 2016. Last year’s team finished 17 points behind state champion Panguitch.
This season, Monticello loses many of its sprint and short-distance runners but returns a very deep distance and field group.
Top state returners include: Lucas Hatch (seventh 400M); Adam Bunker (first 1600M, first 3200M, fourth 800M, second high-jump); Alan Petit (third 1600M, fifth 3200M); Hyrum Johnson (third 3200M, seventh 1600M); Weston Nebeker (fourth high-jump); and Gage Wilcox (sixth shot-put).
The Monticello ladies are also looking forward to a successful 2019 campaign. Last season the ladies finished in sixth place at the 1A state meet.
Top lady state returners include: Presley Lewis (fifth 100M); Madison Freestone (sixth 800M, sixth 1600M, sixth 3200M); Makayla Sheeran (third 300M hurdles); and Naomi Mantz (tied in eighth high-jump).
The team will kick off the season on Saturday, March 23 at the Carbon High Farm Bureau Invitational in Price.
For the especially snowy 2019 golf season, coach Nathan Chamberlain will lead both the girls and boys teams as they look to improve on their 2018 seasons.
The Monticello boys finished in sixth place at the 2018 1A state tournament held at the Mountain View Golf Course in West Jordan.
Senior Britton Brewer is the top returning boys golfer, having finished 16th at the 2018 tournament.
However, senior Taylor Torgerson, a recent move-in from Moab, brings some great experience to the team, having won a state title in 2017-18 with the Grand Red Devils, finishing 40th individually in that tournament.
In 2018, the Lady Buckaroos did not qualify for the state tournament however senior Tymbr Black tied for fifth individually at last year’s state tournament.
The teams played nine holes last Friday when they traveled to Moab for a practice / qualifying round.
The first Region 19 match is scheduled for Tuesday, March 19 to be held on the same course in Moab against Green River and Pinnacle.