During his senior year with the Northland Prep Spartans, Simon Trebon learned a lot about handling the kind of stress golf can put on a player.
He wanted to help lead his team back to the state tournament and keep the program heading in the right direction.
It was also important for him to end his varsity career on a high note after signing a letter of intent in December to play for Sacred Heart University, a Division I school.
“It put a little bit of pressure on me," Trebon said in a recent interview. "I definitely showed up to some of the tournaments feeling like I should win, and that because I have this scholarship I should perform at a certain level.”
The inclement weather throughout the spring season didn't help the standout golfer, who had been on the varsity squad since his freshman year. The practice greens in the areas were in atrocious condition, and the team's main practice course in Sedona was unavailable as it made repairs to weather-caused damage.
"We never had greens worth practicing on," Spartans head coach Beth LaCour said, adding that the season started slow for her team and Trebon.
So Trebon came up with a plan.
“I used some of those earlier matches as learning experiences," Trebon said, "and really just to gauge how I was feeling and improve from there and then try to peak at the right time later in the season.”
The time to peak, of course, was at the Division III state golf tournament, which for the second straight year was held at Tuscon National. Trebon showed up for the occasion, finishing the state tourney in a two-way tie for fourth place and his highest finish ever at the event.
For his ability to handle pressure and be a leader for the young Spartans coming up through the program, Trebon has been named the 2019 Arizona Daily Sun Golf Athlete of the Year.
He often consulted his coaches and parents about how to deal with the proverbial weight on his shoulders.
“Really, I think it helped me become mentally stronger, knowing how to deal with the previous success and try to build for the future without putting so much pressure on myself," Trebon said.
He also learned ways to overcome past struggles. Returning to the Catalina Course for the state tournament, Trebon still had memories about the 18th hole that hurt his final score at the 2018 tourney.
He showed up a few hours early this year to pace the course, take in what happened on No. 18 a year ago and try to settle down. The end result as a final score of 152 over two days as his team finished in eighth place overall.
“Having the high school season be so long leading up to the most meaningful tournament, I just had to put it in perspective. I think it was nice to have my team there to enjoy it and have fun, but it definitely was nerve-wracking, and I was anxious to get out there," Trebon said.
Once he was out there, he was among the leaders. He was one of eight golfers to shoot under 80 on the opening day with a score of 77, and he shot a 75 in the final round en route to his first top-20 finish at a state tournament.
He turned another near collapse into a solid closing on the final day of the state tourney, bouncing back from a triple-bogey on the 15th hole with a steady finish. On Day Two, he also birdied the 13th after carding a boogie for the hole in the opening round.
“His composure was great,” LaCour said.
So to LaCour, it's no surprise that Trebon, who worked hard on his driving to have a stronger senior season, is ranked 52nd in the state for junior male golfers according to the Junior Golf Scoreboard.
Trebon was ranked sixth in the D-III rankings and he was medalist in 11 of 14 matches during the spring season. He shot under par three times for the Spartans, who outright won 12 of their 14 matches. Northland Prep tied one and went on to win that tiebreaker and finished ninth at the High Desert Invitational while competing without their No. 3 and 4 golfers.
The Spartans claimed the Section Five title for a third straight year. Along the way, Trebon showed the younger Spartans how to set themselves apart from others, displaying the kind of focus and devotion the sport requires.
“He would still be that calm leader, and still greet everyone finishing their round," LaCour said, adding she was aware of the the pressure Trebon was dealing with. "Then he would go to the practice greens, where the greens are better, and just work on things.”
The Spartans will surely miss that greeting next year, but will not forget the steady handshake.