When Micah Stangebye, Jordan Jennings and Ryan Lords were younger, almost every adult told them they were going to win a state title someday.
And that pressure didn’t seem to bother them, as they’ve now won three state championships.
The most recent one was straight domination from the Montrose High School boys golf team over the past two days of the state tournament at The Bridges.
Led by Stangebye’s 9-under-par combined round, the Indians won their third-consecutive state championship with an overall score of 431, 35 strokes better than runner-up Pueblo West (466).
Stangebye ran away with the individual state title for the second straight year.
He shot a 67 and 66 on Monday and Tuesday, respectively, for a combined 133, which was nine strokes ahead of second-place golfers Kaden Ford of Discovery Canyon and Hunter Swanson of Northfield.
“I couldn’t have hit the ball better, honestly. It started at the first tee box to the 18,” Stangebye said of his past two rounds. “It all came down to putting, which it always comes down to. … I made the putts that I needed to make and I just came out on top.”
Added Jennings: “He won two tournaments in a row. I don’t know how many people who could do that.”
Jennings, Lords, Stangebye and newcomer Jake Legg all hoisted the state championship trophy as Lords and Stangebye, the two seniors, will close out their prep sports career at the top while Jennings has another left on the team.
“I feel stunned right now,” said Lords. “I’m glad I got it done and my team got it done. … It’s just a bonus to get it done at home.”
“I was a little worried that (since) we’re at home that the kids will be nervous in front of the crowd, and the expectation of winning it can add even more pressure,” said coach Dave Woodruff, who won his fourth overall state title as boys golf coach.
“But the kids held together the whole time.”
That was led by Stangebye. He shot one better than he did Monday but did shoot his first and only bogey on day two. Still, he managed to knock in six birdies during his round.
Stangebye will go down as one of the best MHS golfers in the program’s history, as he also won four regional titles to go on top of his many state championships.
“He’s been a machine the last few days,” Woodruff said. “... The pressure of repeating shows that he’s got some fortitude up there.”
Lords finished in a tie for seventh following an outing of shooting 147 (73 and 74) with Palmer Ridge’s Lance Phillips. He ended up tallying two birdies on day two.
Finishing within the top 10 helped Lords to earn All-State honors.
But Jennings just missed out of the top 10 as he finished in a tie for 11th with Evergreen’s Jack Mitchell. The MHS junior shot a 151 (77 and 74), which included six birdies on Tuesday.
Legg didn’t contribute to the team score but shot a solid 176 (91 and 85), which helped him finish in a five-way tie for 65th place.
“It’s crazy,” Legg said of winning state his freshman year. “Being here at The Bridges, it’s just at another level.”
Woodruff praised Legg’s round Tuesday, saying he was able to shake off the nerves of playing in such a large tournament and shave six strokes off his round.
All four golfers commented on the large crowd that came to watch them play, saying it rivals the crowds they’ve seen at other tournaments out on the Front Range.
“Having a whole lot of (high golfers) out there is great for the community and the golf course,” said Stangebye.
Ponderosa took third place (468), Frederick in fourth (472) and Cheyenne Mountain and Mullen tied for fifth (473). Up next, Evergreen and Windsor placed in a stalemate for seventh (482), Durango in ninth (487), Steamboat Springs (491), Discovery Canyon (498), Coronado (506) and Summit (540).
Although the high school golf season is done, Stangebye and Jennings aren't quite finished with the sport this fall. The pair will compete in a tournament this weekend in Denver before hanging up the clubs until next spring.
Although Stangebye and Lords won’t be around next season, Woodruff is hopeful for the future. He said Jennings will have a new role as the team leader while Legg and a few other young golfers will more than likely have more refined skills in 2020.
“I’m really looking forward to what the future has to bring,” Woodruff said. “We have some really good kids. But we’re just going to celebrate this right now.”
Andrew Kiser is the Montrose Daily Press’ sports/business writer. Follow him on Twitter @andrew_kpress.