San Juan golfer grabs top-five finish at state

It was a whirlwind finish for San Juan High School senior golfer Isabel Young this past week. After becoming the first Lady Bronco to ever qualify for the state tournament as an individual, she headed to the Mountain View Golf Course in West Jordan on Wednesday and Thursday, May 12-13 looking to shock the 3A golf world and bring home a state championship.

She not only held her own against the best of the best in Utah 3A girls golf, she put together an impressive performance that landed her in fourth place in the state.

In round one on Wednesday, Young shot a very strong 79 to earn a tie for third place. The score was a full 13 shots under her 18-hole season average.

She took six more strokes to get around the course in her final round on Thursday, scoring 85 and finishing in a tie for fourth place. 

Isabel and her coach (and father) John Young both shared their thoughts on the season and the excitement of playing in the state tournament. Here’s what they had to say:

Isabel Young: “I had the time of my life this golf season. Even though our team was small, it was so much fun because I got to become close friends with BrinLi [Bowring] and Kalea [Chamberlain].

“I also met some amazing girls from other schools who I absolutely loved playing with. Since we weren’t able to qualify for state as a team [this year], I made it a goal to qualify as an individual.

“I achieved that goal when I finished fifth in the region. I didn’t really go into the state tournament with high expectations. I wanted to do well and put up a good score, but I knew that 3A girls golf is extremely competitive.

“I never could have imagined finishing in the top four in the state. It still feels unreal. I want to thank everyone in the community for supporting me! I can’t even count how many ‘good luck’ texts I received and I think it really helped me play well to know that there were so many people back home cheering me on.

“I want to thank my mom for always going to the store to buy me bananas and M&M’s and for driving all over the state to watch me golf. And I especially want to thank my dad. He is the reason I play golf and the reason I love it so much.

“We’ve been golfing together for 18 years and he always believed that I could achieve my goals even when I didn’t. I know I never could have finished this season the way I did without his support and his coaching.

“I’m still on cloud nine about it all! This was a dream come true for me and I’m just so happy that all my hard work paid off.”

Coach John Young: “I was looking forward to the beginning of the San Juan spring girls golf season since eight girls joined the team last year before the season was suspended due to COVID-19.

“However, when only three girls returned this year, it meant if any of them were to qualify for state, they would have to do so as an individual player.

“As the season progressed, Isabel Young looked good to qualify, BrinLi Bowring was sitting right on the bubble spot of the top 12, and Kalea Chamberlain was just outside the bubble. After the region championship, only Isabel was left standing from San Juan.

“Based on Isabel’s fifth place region rank, I figured she would be somewhere in the top 15 for the state. But I also knew that in order to qualify for day two at state she would have to be inside the top ten, within ten shots of the leader, or shoot at least an 85 on the first day.

“To that point, an 85 was Isabel’s personal best tournament round. I chose not to share any of that information with her. Instead, we played a lot of golf leading up to the Wednesday opening round.

“Isabel was hitting the ball great. She’s always been a good putter, so [I knew] if she could hit the ball like she had been during our tune up rounds, she would be able to challenge for a medal.

“During round one I was feeling really good about her position until we reached the tee box on the short par-three eighth hole. Isabel made her first poor swing of the day and hit the ball into the Jordan River canal and walked away with a triple bogey.

“She had a previous double bogey on the other par three on the front nine. But she played excellent golf over the remaining 16 holes, posting just two over par to finish with an opening round 79 – her new personal best.

“She was the first golfer off that morning, and as the other girls progressed into their rounds, it appeared that 79 was going to be a great score for the first day. I now shared with her the rule of having to shoot an 85 in order to qualify for day two! She was in, and sitting in third place as it turned out.

“In round two, Isabel once again teed off first for the day. The greens had been rolled and not watered, making them feel much different from day one. Her front nine was a discouraging eight over par.

“But she played a steady back nine to post a final round 85 without a single birdie on the day. Again, she was left to watch the leaderboard evolve as the other players progressed deeper into their final round.

“She continued to inch her way up the board until finally settling into a tie for fourth place overall. It was the culmination of a trying but rewarding season as a coach, and the accomplishment of 18 years of dragging a girl to the golf course as a dad.

“Isabel was playing golf with me before she could really walk. I’ve enjoyed many things throughout my life with the game of golf, but they are all outdone by the tears of joy and smiles we shared as Isabel realized her goal of qualifying for state, then exceeded her goals, playing such great golf, and finishing as a top-five golfer in the Utah State 3A classification.”

Indeed, congratulations to Isabel Young, Coach John Young, and the entire 2021 San Juan girls golf team on an outstanding season.

Boys tennis
Speaking of good play, the San Juan High School boys tennis team had a strong performance at the Region 12 Championships this past Friday, May 14 in Richfield.

The brother duo of Cameron and Spencer Jensen took second place in first doubles. Bryce Adams got fifth place in second singles, Conner Montella finished third in third singles, and Denim Howell and Bryant Francom took fifth in second doubles.

The Broncos will play in every category of the 3A state tournament except first singles. Carbon, Waterford, and Juab are among the favorites to win the title when the event gets underway this Friday and Saturday, May 21-22 at the Liberty Park Tennis Center in Salt Lake City.

But San Juan would love to sneak in and surprise some folks. Be sure to check next week’s edition of the Record to see how they do.

Track and field
The San Juan High School boys track and field team scored 85 points to finish fourth among six teams at the Region 12 Championships Wednesday, May 12 and the girls came home sixth with 57 points.

The teams were a combined fourth place with 142 points at the event, which was held at the Carbon High School track in Price. There were numerous impressive individual performances on the day.

Shae Nielson won the girls 100-meter and 200-meter dashes and the 300-meter hurdles. Jensen Grover won the boys 400-meter. And the boys team of Magnum Nielson, Landon Black, Jensen Grover, and Dallin Anderson took first place in the 4x100 relay.

Austin Pemberton earned second place in the boys high jump and Shae Nielson took second in the girls 100 hurdles.

Third-place finishes included Magnum Nielson in the boys long jump and javelin; Chance Hoggard in the shot put; and the team of Nielson, Grover, Black, and Anderson in the 4x400.

Landon Black took fourth in the boys 100-meter dash, Brigham Nielson came home fourth in the 110 hurdles, and Ella Lyman jumped to fourth place in the girls high jump.

Daniel Jolley scored a couple fifth-place finishes in the 110 hurdles and long jump. And Leah Castellon tied for fifth in the girls high jump.

The teams will join local rivals Monticello and Grand County to close out their season at the Utah 1A-4A State Track and Field at Davis High School in Kaysville this Friday and Saturday, May 21-22.

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