(Editor's note: Montana Tech media release)
BUTTE – Montana Tech head golf coach Sean Ryan announced the 2021-22 men’s and women’s golf recruiting class Tuesday. The Oredigger women’s team welcomes four recruits in Sami Benson from Billings, Franchi Ceartin of Bozeman, Kennedy Lean from Butte, and Lauren Williams from Helena. Nick Pasquarello, who prepped at both Billings Central and Laurel, has signed with the men’s program.
“I am very excited for the trajectory of our women’s and men’s programs with the addition of these talented recruits,” said Ryan. “All of these new Orediggers come to Montana Tech from very successful high school programs across the state. I think this newest crop of Orediggers is going to make a great impact on Tech golf.”
Benson, a senior at Billings Senior High School, helped the Broncs bring home a third-place trophy from the Montana State AA golf championships for the first time since 2009. Benson was a two-time all-state selection for the Broncs, tying for seventh place as a junior and 15th as a senior. This past summer Benson finished 10th at the Montana State Junior Golf Championships and 16th at the Montana Women’s State Amateur.
Benson earned academic all-state recognition three times. Benson, the daughter of Peter and Lynn Benson and the sister of former Montana Tech men’s golf standout Sean Benson who won the Frontier Conference Championship in 2019, plans to major in Occupational Safety and Health.
“Having Sami choose Montana Tech is fantastic for our women’s program and for the future of Tech golf," Ryan said. "Sami was at the top of our recruiting list because of the amount of talent that she has and for her dedication to being a great golfer. I have no doubt Sami’s best golf is ahead of her and she is going to lead this program to new heights. It’s even better to know the Bensons are a Montana Tech golf family through-and-through.”
Ceartin, a senior at Bozeman High School, helped the Bozeman Hawks win their fifth consecutive Montana State AA girls golf championship. Ceartin earned all-state honors after shooting rounds of 79-82 at Larchmont and the Missoula Country Club to finish tied for fifth at the state championships. Ceartin’s Hawks finished the 2020 season undefeated and won the state championship by 61 strokes. Ceartin, the daughter of Jake and Andrea Ceartin, plans to major in Exercise and Health Science.
“I am so excited to have Franchi choose to sign with the Orediggers," Ryan said. "She is a great young lady, a great student, and I know she’s going to fit right in here in Butte. Franchi brings a high level of competitiveness that is going to make our program a championship contender. Franchi comes from a powerhouse program with some tremendous coaches and I cannot wait to see where she can take her game at the collegiate level.”
Lean, a senior at Butte High School, helped the Bulldogs win the inaugural Western AA divisional tournament at Fairmont Hot Springs Resort this fall and back-to-back third-place finishes at the Montana State AA golf championships as a sophomore and junior. Lean, the daughter of Coby and Heather, will major in Business and Information Technology.
“Getting Kennedy to come to Tech is a great step for our women’s golf program," Ryan said. "Kennedy is a great person and comes from a great Butte family. Her teams had so much success at Butte High and I know she was an important piece of that success and will be a key piece in our program’s future success.”
Williams, a senior at Helena High School, was a two-time all-state selection for the Bengals, including an 11th-place finish at this year’s Montana State AA golf championships. Williams was the golf team captain her senior season, played tennis for the Bengals all four years, is a member of the National Honor Society, and is a four-year academic all-state honoree. Williams, the daughter of Michael and Helen and sister of current Oredigger women’s golfer Reyla Williams, will study Biological Sciences.
“Lauren is great get for the Orediggers. She has put in a ton of work on her game and you can really see how dedicated she is to being the best golfer she can be," Ryan said. "Having the whole Williams family in Tech Green and Copper is tremendous.”
Pasquarello, a senior at Billings Central High School, won a pair of Montana State A golf championships with Laurel as a sophomore and junior. He was a four-time all-state selection, taking 15th, sixth, third and fourth at state in his high school career. Pasquarello won medalist honors at both the Laurel Invitational and the Sidney Invitational and helped the Rams win six team titles and finish as runners-up at the 2020 Montana State A golf championships at the Butte Country Club his senior season. Pasquarello won the 2019 Eastern A divisional meet as a junior.
During his high school career for both Billings Central and Laurel High School, Pasquarello was a part of 22 team tournament victories, seven individual tournament wins, and finished in the top five in 25 of his 32 career high school tournaments. He was an academic all-state selection as a junior and is a member of the National Honor Society. Pasquarello, the son of Robert and Kamee, will major in Business and Information Technology.
“Nick is as high caliber of golfer as you’ll find and I couldn’t be more excited to have him join our men’s program," Ryan said. "He comes from a pair of powerhouse programs in Laurel and Billings Central and I can’t wait to see just how high his competitive ceiling can be and how much he can help our program continue to reach new heights.”
The men’s program won the first Frontier Conference regular-season title in school history this fall after having three different individual medalists and winning three conference tournaments. The Orediggers placed five men and three women on the all-conference teams.
The Orediggers will kick off their spring season at the Lewis-Clark State College Warrior Spring Invitational March 14-16.