LITTLETON - Palmer Ridge left the state course on Tuesday afternoon with its best finish in program history.
Where it's going next could be even better.
Sophomore Trey Jones shot a silky-smooth 3-over-par 75 on the final day of the Class 4A tournament to move up into a tie for 11th as the Bears reset their own bar with a fourth-place finish at Raccoon Creek Golf Course.
Fellow sophomores Elijah Harp tied for 20th and Lance Phillips tied 31st for Palmer Ridge, while junior Drew Laake tied for 47th.
The Bears' foursome capped the afternoon with a few handshakes and a couple of team-posed pictures.
It was a moment to savor - at least for a little while.
"I think having four individual top 10s next year is not out of our reach," Jones said. "Our goal is definitely winning state next year. That's a high goal for us."
Jones showed what could be store with his game on Tuesday.
The sophomore climbed seven spots from Monday's opening round, holing 13 pars and a birdie to score the fifth-lowest round of the day.
It was nothing flashy. Just solid drives and some nice short play to set up manageable putts.
"He was leaving himself six-inch putts for par. We'll take those all day," Palmer Ridge coach Gary Long explained. "He shot 75 today and it was an easy 75."
What was hard was stomaching the chances he missed.
Jones' 5-foot chance for birdie on 13 came up inches short as did birdie looks on 15 and 16. More so, he thought about what could have been if he didn't have a 5-over hole in Monday's round.
"I'm excited for how I bounced back well," Jones said. "But I just really want to go out at it next year and have a chance for a title."
Elsewhere, on a day defending champion Discovery Canyon and title-defender Luke Trujillo struggled, Montrose (34-over-par 466) and Thompson Valley's Darren Edwards (2-over 146) were crowned with top honors.
Trujillo came into the day only three strokes off the lead but fell out of contention after a quadruple-bogey 9 on the ninth hole. His 84 Tuesday dropped him to a tie for 16th in the individual standings and Discovery Canyon settled for sixth as a team.
"I couldn't find my swing, didn't putt well, didn't keep the ball in play," the Air Force Academy commit said.
"For lack of a better word, I laid an egg."
Falcon's Ryan Welsh also finished 16th after shooting the second-lowest score of the day at 73. Cheyenne Mountain's Keaton Hulen tied with Discovery Canyon's Caleb Blackburn for 24th.