Before the Montrose High boys golf team was ever feared out on the course, it was only a group of four kids who liked to play the sport.
Junior Dawson Hussong recalled before he and fellow juniors Ryan Lords, Micah Stangebye and sophomore Jordan Jennings were ever crowned regional or state champions, they enjoyed each other’s company while hitting the links. But now with the last two competitions left on the season, the boys are trying to come away with more titles to their names, he said.
“It’s pretty cool because we’ve all grown up playing the game together,” Hussong said. “We used to play with each other before we got to high school. Now, we’re trying to go repeat so it’s pretty cool.”
Montrose has a chance to repeat twice, once at state, but also at regionals, which starts Tuesday at Indian Peaks in Lafayette.
Stangebye is coming off two straight years as a regional champ, including winning in a playoff last year at The Bridges. Obviously, the junior golfer wants to win this upcoming invite for the third time.
“I won it my freshman and sophomore year, so I want to keep the train rolling and win it,” Stangebye said.
He’ll not only have a tough go at it against other schools but his teammates as well.
Jennings, who’s finished first in a few tournaments this season, wants to be at the top of the leaderboard. Additionally, Hussong — who took third in the 2017 regionals, hopes to crack the top five again.
Lords — wanting a top-10 finish — has had quite the improvement from last season. He’s lowered his scores quite regularly, which has factored into the team’s score. That includes placing fifth in the Indians-hosted Black Canyon Invite on Aug. 22.
“I’ve made better contact this year,” Lords said of his refined golf game. “... I’ve worked hard this summer and try to fix my swing the ways it needs to be fixed.”
Although the Indians hosted the competition last year, they are going into seemingly new territory with Indian Peaks.
Out of the four, Stangebye is the only one who has ever played the course. He described it as a layout with a plentiful amount of trees so golfers need to have strong placements with their ball rather than driving it far.
But all the golfers will experience it for themselves before regionals as they’ll get a practice round in before Tuesday’s invite. They all said getting familiar is going to pay off come competition time.
“It definitely helps to see the course before,” Jennings said. “You feel more comfortable when you’re hitting a shot because you’re not blind on knowing where you need to hit.”
As the reigning champs, the high school golfers are all aware they have a target on their back. There may be more nerves involved, but they are ready to hit the course.
“There’s definitely a lot more weight on your shoulders because you know everybody is coming after you,” Hussong said. “You’re the one team that won. So there is more extra pressure.”
Andrew Kiser is the Montrose Daily Press’ sports/business writer. Follow him on Twitter @andrew_kpress.