Holley and Prey plan to "Aim High" at 4A state golf tournament

Evergreen senior Natalie Holley, 4-time state qualifier, has accepted an appointment to the Air Force Academy. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)

ARVADA — Two of the top girl golfers in Jeffco will play in their final state tournament May 22 and 23 at Colorado National Golf Course in Erie before heading in different directions.

Class 4A Jeffco League medalist champion and 4-time state qualifier Sydney Prey is planning on playing on the women’s basketball and golf teams at Colorado Mesa University after she graduates from Golden High School. While Evergreen senior Natalie Holley leaves June 28 for Colorado Springs where she has accepted an appointment to the Air Force Academy.

“That’s sad,” Prey said after maybe playing a final competitive round with Holley on May 11 at the Class 4A Region 3 tournament at Indian Tree Golf Course in Arvada. “We’ve probably been paired together for every tournament over the past two years. It’s crazy how fast time flies by.”

Prey finished tied for 2nd in the regional with a round of 83 to qualify for her second straight 4A state tournament. The senior played in the 5A state tournament as a freshman and sophomore when she was at Ralston Valley High School.

Holley placed 7th in the regional with a 87. While the future cadet knows she could have played better in the wet conditions, her focus was on what the Cougars accomplished as a team. Teammates Brianna Bond (92) and Madeline Gatt (101) shot low enough to join Holley at state.

Natalie Holley hopes her putter heats up at Colorado National Golf Course for the 4A state tournament. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)

“I’m really excited because our team is going this year, which is a first in my four years,” said Holley, who tied for 26th last year at state.

It was fitting that Holley had her final regional tournament at Indian Tree. As a freshman she was able to par her final hole to make the state field.

Holley's next step in life took time to evolve. She began the application process of going into the military nearly a year-and-a-half ago. Last summer Holley went on camps for those interested in the U.S. Naval Academy and U.S. Air Force Academy.

“I’m very excited. It was a tough decision. I knew that service was my path that I wanted to go,” said Holley, who also had a full-ride offer to the University of San Diego through the NORTC (Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps). “The Air Force offered so many great opportunities. I knew I wanted to serve in the military.”

Colorado congressman Jared Polis nominated Holley to both the Naval and Air Force academies. One disappointment for Holley is the Air Force doesn’t have a women’s golf team. They do have a club women’s golf team that she plans to get involved with.

“I know it’s going to be tough, but I know it’s going to make me a better person and stronger,” Holley said of joining the military.

Golden senior Sydney Prey has a chance to close her prep career with a state title. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)

Prey recently committed to Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction where she will continue to be a multi-sport athlete.

“I’m going to try it out the first year and see how it goes,” said Prey of playing basketball and golfing. “If it’s too hard they are totally OK with me picking one over the other. We’ll see how it goes.”

Before heading to Grand Junction, Prey well aim to improve on her top-10 finish at the state tournament last year. She finished tied for 7th last year at Pueblo Country Club.

“My goal is to win it for sure, but the way I’ve been swinging it and playing my main goal is a top-3 finish,” Prey said. “If I can win it, I want to win it.”

Heading to state with Sydney will be her two younger sisters. Junior Makena Prey and freshman Haley Prey will join their older sister for one final prep event. The three were all starters on Golden’s girls basketball team that won the 4A Jeffco League title for the first time since 2008 and helped the Demons win the 4A Jeffco League girls golf team title this spring.

Sydney Prey will be joined by her younger sisters — Makena and Haley — at the Class 4A girls golf state tournament May 22 and 23. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)