Panthers take 2nd at state golf, Lady Cougars finish in 4th

Mikaela Koski
Thursday, May 24, 2018
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Photo by Kris Johnstone

The Park City golf team with their state trophy.  From the left: Austin Popp, Tristen Johnstone, Talon Johnstone, Coach Mark Rathbun, and Tucker Johnstone (laying down).


The Park City Panthers have done it – topped off a “crazy but fun” season with a great showing at state, bringing back a second place trophy at the end of the tournament.

This year’s Class C state golf meet was held at Fairmont Golf Course. The state preview meet earlier in the season was cancelled due to weather, so none of the Stillwater competitors had the opportunity to play on the course prior to state.

That did not stop the Panthers, and all of the Park City competitors shot a good round on the first day of the tournament. Freshman Tucker Johnstone was tied for second place after the first day after shooting an 84. He was followed by junior Tristen Johnstone with an 88, and junior Austin Popp with a 95. Rounding out the group that first day was senior Talon Johnstone with a score of 98.

Talon performed well on the second day, shooting a 79 to improve on his day-one score by 19 strokes. Tucker scored a 90 on day-two, dropping six strokes from the first day. Both Tristen and Popp were consistent on the second day, scoring an 89 and 92, respectively.

Tucker’s two-day overall score of 174 was good to earn seventh place individually. Tristen and Talon each scored a 177 to tie for 10th place. Popp finished in 22nd with a score of 187.

As a team, Park City snagged the second place title with a two-day overall score of 525, 15 strokes behind first-place Manhattan Christian and six strokes ahead of third-place Gardiner.

Park City Coach Mark Rathbun is proud of his team’s performance at state, as well as for their successful season.

“After last year’s state performance where we all felt like we should have done better, the boys had a focus and goal for this season to bring back some hardware from state, and they achieved that goal,” Rathbun explained.

Despite a slow start to the season due to bad weather, the Park City team was able to play in 10 meets, and in each one, the Panther golfers vied for top finishes. Each Park City team member shot a personal best at some point during the season, Rathbun said.

Rathbun was glad to see Talon shoot so well on his final day of high school golf, with his score of 79.

“We will miss Talon next year, but return Austin, Tristen, and Tucker, and hope to have some younger golfers step up to fill the empty spot,” Rathbun said, noting the team will have high expectations for next year.

He extended thanks to the Laurel Golf Course for allowing the Park City team to practice at their facility, as well as to Stillwater Golf Course in Columbus for allowing the Panthers to co-host meets this season. Rathbun said both courses have helped the Park City golfers improve their games.


The Lady Cougars also found success at state, finishing fourth among a tough field of competitors.

The Class B state meet was held at Eaglerock Golf Course in Shepherd. Columbus played there once during the regular season, as well as during the divisional tournament.

Senior Olivia Hess led the team on the first day with a score of 90. Fellow senior Bailey Johannes was right behind with 93 strokes, and senior Bay-lee Gordon shot a 109. Junior Karsen Marjerison followed with a 110, and sophomore Chloe Ketchum rounded out the group with 121 strokes.

Hess shot an 85 on day two, for an overall score of 175, good for fourth place. Johannes also improved on the second day of the tournament, shooting an 87. Her two-day score of 180 earned her sixth place.

Marjerison improved with a 108 day-two score, for a 218 final score. Gordon shot a 113 on the final day for a tournament score of 222. Ketchum shaved off seven strokes for a 114 on the second day and a 235 two-day score.

Missoula Loyola won the meet with a two-day team score of 690, followed by Shelby (733), and Three Forks (762). Columbus finished in fourth with a team score of 795, 33 strokes ahead of the fifth place team.

Cougar Coach Jeromey Burke noted the team knew Loyola and Shelby would be tough to beat going into the tournament. Three Forks gave Columbus an opportunity at third place, but Burke said the Cougars failed to capitalize and pressure the Wolves into the second day of the tournament.

During the regular season, the Cougars shot a 400 at Eaglerock, and at divisionals the team recorded a score of

404. The 402 team score for the first day of state, then, met the team’s average for the course.

“Shooting 393 on the second day was a great way to end the season and the girls played well, we just gave the other teams a little too big of a head start on us,” Burke explained.

He commended Hess and Johannes for rising to the occasion and playing strong on their final day of high school golf.

“Those two really put in a lot of time over the last four years, and they deserved the success they had this year,” Burke said. “There weren’t very many days this year when they weren’t the last ones at the course practicing, and as a coach it’s refreshing to see hard work get rewarded with success during the most pressure-packed time of the year.”

As for the two Columbus boys competing at state, both junior Gabe Brocklebank and sophomore Trey Stampfel finished right in the middle of the field of competitors.

Brocklebank shot an 89 on the first day and a 95 on the second day for an overall score of 184. Stampfel had a one-day score of 94 and improved two strokes on the second day for a total score of 186.

Burke said both boys transformed into reliable golfers throughout the season, and he feels they will be the leaders on the boys team next year. If Brocklebank and Stampfel, along with their teammates, continue to work on their game during the summer, Burke thinks the Cougar boys will have a good chance to take a full team to state next year.

“Trey Stampfel probably improved the most out of anyone in our program over the last year, and I think he sees he has some potential to have some good success the next couple years,” Burke noted.


The Absarokee Huskies sent five golfers to the state meet at Fairmont.

Mikol Degele shot a 90 during the first day of competition, followed by Zacc Degele with a 97. Simon Hanson had a first day score of 114.

On the second day, Mikol shot a 96, finishing the tournament with a 186 tournament score for 21st place. Zacc shot a 108 on day two, for an overall score of 205. Hanson improved to a 103 on the final day of the tournament, for a two-day score of 217.

With three golfers, Absarokee was able to field the first boys golf team score in school history. The Huskies posted a two-day team score of 608, good for ninth place.

On the girls’ side, Hana Kelly shot a 105 on the first day and a 114 on the second day for a total score of 219, earning her 18th place. Maggie Howes had scores of 112 strokes and 116 strokes, respectively, for an overall score of 228.

Overall, Husky Coach Gregg Feddes was happy with the performance of the Absarokee golfers.

Both seniors, Mikol and Kelly, were close to medaling, but they did not quite pass the threshold. The other three golfers, Zacc, Hanson, and Howes, will return next year, and Feddes said “they are anxious to build on this year.”

He also noted that it was nice to finally have some good weather for the state meet, considering all the spring snow this year.

“With all the cancelled meets things weren’t ideal, but I thought our kids did a great job of making the best of the situation,” Feddes said.