Buffalo boys stampede through state championship keeping 1st place tradition alive and well

During the midnight cusp of May 18-19, a multi-vehicle caravan of delirious Long Valley golf fans were entouraged from Tod’s Junction at Highway 14 by a convoy of nine deputies, including Sheriff Tracy Glover himself commanding a triumphal entry of driver Josh Larmore’s big yellow Kane County school bus for the team’s victorious parade sirening through Glendale, and around the otherwise unsuspecting sleepy streets of Orderville.

Valley’s State Championship Golf team with trophy and medals are (l-r) front row: Julia Hoyt, Brittyn Heaton, Charle Spencer, Ruth Cox, Rachel Cox and Kaylee Brinkerhoff . Rear row: Keenan Chamberlain (Manager), Waylon Spencer, Zane Monnett, Cooper Chamberlain, Hunter Cox, Ivan Spencer, Boede Cox and Jeremy Chamberlain (Coach). Photo by Julie Heaton.

“Hey, we just got home. Won the state championship! Phenomenal day; phenomenal two days!” began Coach Jeremy Chamberlain’s wrap-up of the state championship rounds at Salt Lake City’s Glendale Golf Course. “We got in there, and the kids were not as sharp as they could’ve been. Cooper (Chamberlain), shot really well; he shot 76 the first day, which was eight strokes off the lead. The leader-kid shot a 4 under par, 68, and Cooper shot a 4 over par, 76. So, there was an eight-stroke difference; that was Individuals.”


“And then, today, we were five strokes back of Altamont, which we were really thinking was going to be a tougher team there. And I got the kids together and said, ‘Hey, all we need is just one stroke from each of you, right? If we get one stroke better, we’re going to be fine.’ Well, Coop was shooting phenomenal! He was actually gaining strokes on the #1 spot, one stroke better than the #1 kid. And then, he triple-bogied on #9 coming in. And that’s actually the only hole I saw him play today. And so, I just laughed.”


“He turned it around immediately; he shot one-under the back nine. So, he ended up beating his kid. The #1 kid shot a 78 today; Coop shot a 77. So that was one stroke, right? Hunter (Cox, 15th-place at 173) ended-up beating his kid by three strokes; Ivan (Spencer) beat his kid by one stroke. And then, our little guy, Boede Cox, a freshman, showed-up and beat his kid by five strokes! And so, we ended up gaining 10 strokes on Altamont, and won by five strokes. Just happier than happy!”

“Waylon (Spencer) was the comic-relief, the self-proclaimed ‘Hype-Man,’ right? He did a phenomenal job: kept everybody loose. He made us laugh all the time; he was really helping Coop a lot, actually, to keep relaxed doing well. He did great. He didn’t shoot the best scores of his life, but still was a huge part of it. Zane (Monnett) is just solid! We didn’t use any of his scores either; but obviously, throughout the year, he pushed the fours and fives: he pushed them to shoot better. That goes for the rest of the team: Hunter Barrick, Johnny (Cox) even pushed the kids to get better. Now, we’re looking forward to some of these younger kids coming up to take Hunter Cox’s spot.”


Upon their late-night return, Hunter was, “Still excited! When they do the announcing, it takes forever, and you’re, like, ‘Oh my gosh!’ ‘Cause this is like I was saying to everybody: ‘This is my last chance to tell my kids I was athletic in anything; I need this one!’ And it was close. We were down five strokes the first day, and when we got our new tee times and new pairings, we were all paired with the Altamont kids, and they were the ones who were beating us. So, we handed it to them the second day!”


Cooper Chamberlain (second-place Individual Medalist with 153) acknowledges, “The team did phenomenal! They all came out with mental toughness second day, and all beat our guys winding-up closing the difference and winning it.” And of that potentially disheartening 9thhole disaster, he admits, “Yeah, you just have to stay locked-in, and you can’t let a bad hole determine your entire round. I tried to come back from it best I could, and so, just did the best I could out there.”

Ivan Spencer (sixth place Individual Medalist) matter-of-factly states, “I shot a 167: an 85 the first day, an 82 the second. And the second day, I just made sure that I beat the person I needed to, so that then, we could gain up-strokes. And we all ended up beating them the second day, and that’s all we needed to win. The final scores were 677 and 682. We just pulled through. I mean, we were behind five strokes, then come back to beat them by five strokes!”


“I played decently good,” says Boede Cox (23rd-place Individual at 184). “They eliminate 40 percent of the teams, so there’s like eight teams left after the first day. We were down by five with what they said was the best team; so, we grouped up with their kids, like our 4’s with their 4’s. And I got five strokes better than the kid that I played with, and we won by five.” Of the remaining players whose scores weren’t entered into Day One’s, 336, and Day Two’s, 341, were Zane’s 197 (41st-place) and Waylon’s 206 (46thplace) for the first-place total of 677.


Later, in the calm light of day, Jeremy shared his reflections on the girl’s seventh place (464 strokes) season. “We set high expectations for ourselves this year. We have a four-year starter in Charle Spencer. She did great all season long. She places in the top three or four all season. Was just fantastic! Midway in the season, I tried really hard to get a couple of girls to finish out a team for us to support her and was very pleased with the four girls that we got: Brittyn Heaton (51st-place with 128), Julia Hoyt (49thplace at 127), Ruth Cox (31st-place with 118) and Rachel Cox (41st-place at 122). And then, Kaylee (Brinkerhoff, tied in 41st-place with 122): she started at the beginning of the year; she was just constant as well. Every day, she showed-up, never missed practice. And without exception, we’ve got a great group of girls I’m super-happy with.”


“Charle’s in the Top 10 (ninth-place Individual Medalist with 102). She’ll be going to the state banquet in June, which she greatly deserves. She’s super-good and a great pleasure to coach. All of these seniors, Charle and Brittyn, with their leadership attributes! Ruth, whatever she does, she does really hard. Nothing comes easy for that girl. But she works her guts out. She, in the classroom, takes that same dedication into basketball, volleyball; and now, this year, she’s taken it to golf. She and her sister Rachel, in the way they performed, I thought they did a great job. I think we’ve got a good thing going with leadership and everything in high school sports, to have Brittyn and Charle to lead this group; and having the dynamic of their personalities will attract other girls. I think we’ll do better next year. And I’m excited for that!”


Brittyn, sharing insights of her one and only season, says, “I joined the team late, and it was such a blast! The coaching staff, Jeremy Chamberlain, really did an amazing job with the kids. And being on a team with the boys is such an amazing experience. It was definitely life-changing being able to get that close to them and see their work ethic and see how hard they pushed to get this thing to get the championship, because they deserved it! The girls did pretty good. I cut 20 strokes from my last tournament. But definitely, the highlight was just being able to share that with the boys and share that with the community and just learning what we learned.”


And regarding Coach Chamberlain’s motivational style, she notes, “From the moment I started playing, his whole motto was: ‘We’re drinking from a well we did not dig; and we’re warming from a fire we did not start.’ Basically, just meaning that Valley golf has such a legacy! And that’s not because of anything that we’ve done, anything that we’ve accomplished; but because people have worked really hard and spent countless hours doing that thing before us. And we’ve been really blessed to be able to continue that and make something that in 30 years we’re proud that our kids are looking back on.”


Mindful of spreading his admiration to all those whose help warrants a few kudos of appreciation, he adds, “And a shoutout to Dustin Cox! He stepped-up in a pinch and was really my assistant when I was up there. He was able to help the kids just shuttling them back and forth bringing them treats and keeping them hydrated - that sort of thing. That was huge help. Appreciate the heck out of Dustin (father of Ruth and Rachel).”


“EZE, East Zion Experiences, helped out this year,” he continued. “We did a service project for them; they were willing to step-up. Our kids went there for two weekends. They paid a lot of our expenses this year. Also, South Central provided all of our tournament balls. Can’t say enough about them either. Zion Family Homes: Betty (Chamberlain) got all our goodies together. She and Harmony (Cox, Ruth and Rachel’s mother) kept the kids hydrated with energy goods and treats.”


“It’s a village that wins these things, and I hope the whole community takes credit for it. And a shout-out for Kane County. We had nine deputies and the Sheriff get out of bed and drove all the way to Tod’s in the middle of the night to come escort us home. Can’t say enough about our County Sheriff Department. Wonderful guys!”


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