Monticello girls golf team begins defense of first-ever state title

By Rhett Sifford
Sports Editor
The Monticello High School golf team opened the 2024 season on Wednesday, March 27 with a trip to Green River. Both the girls and boys teams picked up wins over their Region 19 opponents.
The girls team picked up right where they left off after winning their first ever state championship last season, shooting a combined 269 to finish 96 strokes ahead of Green River and over 150 ahead of Pinnacle.
The boys shot 369 as a team to win their division. Green River finished second with a 452 and Pinnacle scored 513.
Individually the Buckaroos were led by Darrin Westcott who shot an 84 on the day. Traken Lee was right behind his teammate with an 87, Jackson Keyes carded a 95, and Kooper Nelson scored a 103.
Canyon Christensen finished with a 106 in Green River, JD McDonald shot a 117, Carter Harrod came in with a 133, and Ryan Holt shot 142.
Among the girls it was Alise Lewis leading the way with a 92. Cambree Chamberlain shot a 102, Alli Young scored 104, Gabi Dowell carded a 124, Lilli Burton came home with a 128, Annaleigh Nebeker shot 121, and Jane Burton got a 126.
Monticello Head Coach Nathan Chamberlain shared some thoughts with the San Juan Record regarding his teams for 2024 and the start of the new season as he enters his 17th year with the boys and sixth with the girls.
“There are quite a few new faces on the boys team this season with five freshmen beginning their first competitive season of golf: Canyon Christensen, Ryan Holt, Carter Francom, Noah Padilla and Lander Hart.
“Also starting his first year is senior JD McDonald. With six new players this year the top four golfers are all returning from a productive season last year.
“We are looking forward to having senior Darrin Westcott, junior Traken Lee, and sophomores Jackson Keyes and Kooper Nielson show the underclassmen what it takes to compete at the state level.
“Senior Curtis Bunker is hoping to return from a basketball injury to help the team. We have had two matches so far and our top two golfers Traken and Darrin are tied with an average score of 85. I am looking to the friendly competition between them to better their scores throughout the season.
“This year we have added another simulator in the dungeon along with a putting green that we have utilized during the first month of the season. We are hoping this has provided the extra practice we need to rise to the top at state.
“The girls team hasn’t suffered the turnover the boys have seen but we do have a couple new faces on the team. Annaleigh Nebeker and Jane Burton are the two freshman joining the team. Gabi Dowell has also returned from a year off.
“We are returning four juniors, Lilli Burton, Cambree Chamberlain, Alise Lewis, and Ali Young, from our state championship team last year. We are optimistic we can continue to improve and bring the underclassmen along on a great ride this season.
“Seeing the scores to start the season, it has definitely helped having the added resources of the simulators and putting surface.
“We have had amazing support from the school administration and a few community members who have supported us with equipment, facilities, and time in growing the game here in Monticello.
“The coaching staff is optimistic that with the continued support of the parents and others we will have a successful season for both teams.”
The team is back in action this Wednesday and Thursday, April 3-4 at the Lakeside Golf Course in Layton.

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