The third time was a charm for Ann Marie Hamilton.
The Moffat County High School alumna and third-year girls golf coach was surprised Monday night when she was named the Western Slope coach of the year.
After voting for the all-conference players of the year, the coaches submitted their nominations for coach of the year via secret ballot.
"I was honored to even be nominated," Hamilton said. She was persuaded into giving a short speech after receiving the honor, which brought tears to her eyes.
"Actually, it was a big surprise," she said with a smile. "I kind of choked up a little bit."
All seven Bulldog golfers were present in Rifle at a special dinner the night before regional competition.
The former MCHS varsity golfer credits her parents and older brother for introducing her to the sport at age 10.
Her father played, and her mom drove her and her brother to various junior golf tournaments on the Western Slope.
A current Class A golf professional at Yampa Valley Golf Course, Hamilton said she considers the coach of the year award among her top accomplishments.
"Passing my Class A test and going to nationals at Doane College were both great individual accomplishments, but when someone else recognizes what you've done, that means a lot," she said.
Amber Nicholson, a MCHS senior, crossed her fingers at Monday's award banquet just before Hamilton's award was announced.
"I am really happy she got the recognition she deserves," Nicholson said. "I wouldn't trade her for anyone else. When you are in a tournament --ome or away --he always helps. She takes the reins and makes sure the job gets done the right way."
Hamilton travels to Windsor May 21 and 22 to coach Nicholson and junior Meghan Innes at the 4A state championships.