Diggers unveil golf recruits

Diggers unveil golf recruits

Montana Tech head golf coach Sean Ryan announced today the signing of six golfers that will join the Oredigger golf program next fall.

The Oredigger men’s team welcomes five recruits that have all found success on the links in Jhett Braley of Billings, Kaven Noctor of Butte, Jace Rhodes of Billings, J.R. Small of Bozeman, and Gabe Witham of Helena. Paige Sommerville from Pasco, Washington has signed with the Oredigger women’s golf team.

Butte Sports previously reported on the signings of Noctor and Small.

“I’m very excited about this class of recruits,” Sean Ryan said. “I think it’s extremely important to go out and find the best golfers Montana has to offer and I think this class epitomizes that.”

Braley, a senior at Billings Senior, was an All-State finisher at the Class AA State tournament held last fall at Meadowlark Country Club in Great Falls. Braley was the medalist at the Helena Golf Invitational at Bill Roberts golf course after firing an even-par 72 in the final round. Braley, the son of Ryan and Cindi, intends to major in business and information technology.

“Jhett is an awesome kid and I’m excited to see where he can take his game at the college level,” Ryan said. “He’s a really good addition to our program.”

Noctor, a senior at Butte High School, tied for sixth at the Class AA State Tournament in Great Falls this fall and placed 10th as a junior. Noctor won the Montana State Junior Championships in Billings last June and played in the Boys’ Junior Americas Cup and the Montana-Alberta Cup. Noctor, the son of Kevin Noctor and Katie Harding, plans to major in business and information technology.

“Landing a local talent like Kaven is really great for this program,” Ryan said. “He’s a kid who you know will put in the work and make everyone around him better.”

Rhodes, a Billings West graduate who was a three-time state wrestling champion before heading to the University of Wyoming to wrestle, is making a return to the fairway after a high school career where he was an all-state finisher as a sophomore, junior, and senior. Rhodes represented Montana in the Boys’ Junior Americas Cup hosted by Fairmont Hot Springs and the Montana-Alberta Cup in 2018. Rhodes was the only player to go undefeated in all three matches at the Montana-Alberta Cup. Rhodes, the son of Scott and Karna, intends to major in Data Science.

“Jace is as talented as he is hard working,” Ryan said. “I think he’s got the game to really make an impact for us next fall.”

Small, a senior at Bozeman High School, helped the Hawks win back-to-back Class AA State championships and was a three-time all-state finisher. Small placed ninth as a freshman, 12th as a sophomore, fourth as a junior, and eighth as a senior. Small was a teammate with Rhodes in the Boys/ Junior Americas Cup and the Montana-Alberta Cup in 2018. Small was also a member of the 2019 Boys’ Junior America Cup team. Small won the 2019 Great Falls Invitational after firing rounds of 72-67 in August. Small won the Bridger Creek Club Championship last summer after setting a course-record 7-under-par 64 in the first round. Small, the son of Jennifer Small, intends to major in business and information technology.

“JR is a tremendous get for Montana Tech Golf,” Ryan said. “He’s the real deal and is going to make an immediate impact on the Frontier Conference.”

Witham, a senior at Capital High School in Helena, took fourth place at the Class AA State Tournament this fall earning all-state recognition. Witham placed fifth at the season-opening Great Falls Invite held at Meadowlark Country Club and Eagle Falls Golf Course shooting rounds of 78-71. Witham, the son of Gabe and Lori, plans to major in Nursing.

“I’m excited to have Gabe join the Orediggers,” Ryan said. “He’s a talented player and will be a strong player for our men’s team right away.”

The Oredigger women’s team welcomes Paige Sommerville from Chiawana High School in Pasco, Washington. Sommerville was the Riverhawks Player of the Year as a sophomore and junior. Sommerville was honorable mention all-conference as a sophomore and second team all-conference as a junior. Over the past summer, Sommerville recorded six top-10 finishes at Washington Junior Golf Association events including rounds of 79-75 at District 4 Championships. Sommerville, the daughter of Troy and Heidi, plans to major in Nursing.

“I’m very excited for Paige to join the Orediggers. She is obviously a very talented golfer, a great student, and will be an important component of our women’s golf program right away.”

The Orediggers start their spring schedule on March 23 at the Northwest Nazarene Invitational held at Ridgecrest Country Club in Nampa, Idaho. The Frontier Conference Championships are set for April 19-22 in Boise at Banbury Golf Course.

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