The Notah Begay III (NB3) Foundation is excited to introduce the 2023 NB3FIT Youth Golf Team, which includes 11 golfers ages 13 to 17 from across the state of New Mexico. The NB3FIT Golf Team was established in 2021 to provide skills training, tournament opportunities, and mentorship to aspiring Native youth golfers.

Youth are selected based on skill, commitment to the game, involvement in their community and their willingness to learn. Being selected to the team comes with a variety of learning opportunities and skills training meant to enhance their game. However, the focus is not only on golf. Youth are also challenged to think strategically about how they will give back to their community through volunteering and other community service efforts. 

“I wanted to be on the NB3FIT Golf Team because I love the game and this team provides many opportunities to grow and get better,” Maddison Long,16, said. “It also teaches important lessons like time management, giving back to the community, and places other responsibilities on us that can help us prepare for later in life.”

Long has been part of the NB3FIT junior golf family since she was a child and has been selected to the team for the past three years. You will often find Long on the course or at NB3 Foundation events volunteering and mentoring young golfers. 
Long, her little sister Olivia,13, and Alyssandra Rodriquez,15, make up the girls team this year. Rodriquez returns from last year’s team, and Olivia joins for the first time.  For the boys, the team welcomes newcomers: Deviond Gachupin, 13, JJ Botello, 14, and Jacob Francisco, 17. Francisco plays high school golf for Miyamura High School in Gallup, N.M. and Gachupin and Botello are both active in the golf scene as middle school students.  

The team returns a strong boy’s roster including Skyler Woods ,17, Zachary BlueEyes ,16, Noah Pozernick ,17, Luke James ,17, and Ardell John ,17. Woods and BlueEyes both placed first in their age divisions at last year’s NB3 Foundation Native Youth Golf Championship. Woods, BlueEyes and John also helped Kirtland Central High School finish second in the 2022 high school state championship.  

Pozernick, James and Francisco all play for Miyamura High School and are looking to get the Patriots a podium finish at the 2023 NM Golf State Championship, May 8-9 at Santa Ana Golf Club.  

Following the state championship, a busy summer season will begin. Each NB3FIT golfer will play at least 10 more tournaments, a combination of NB3 Junior Golf Tour and Sun Country Jr. Golf tournaments. Golfers will also go head-to-head against Native youth from across the country in the 2023 Native Youth Golf Championship in late July. 

“It’s only been three years and we have already seen incredible stories come from this team. Two past team members are playing collegiate golf, and another is attending The Golf Performance Academy in Connecticut,” Clint Begay, director of NB3FIT said. “I’m excited for this year’s team and look forward to seeing them accomplish new goals on and off the course.” 

The team will continue to meet up twice a month to practice, work on youth development skills and check in on community service projects. 

2023 NB3FIT Youth Golf Team  

Zachary BlueEyes, 16, Kirtland, NM, Diné, Kirtland Central High School  

Ardell John, 17, Kirtland, NM, Diné, Kirtland Central High School  

Skyler Woods, 17, Kirtland, NM, Diné, Kirtland Central High School  

Jacob Francisco, 17, Gallup, N.M., Diné, Miyamura High School  

Luke James, 17, Gallup, NM, Diné, Miyamura High School  

Noah Pozernick, 17, Gallup, NM, Diné, Miyamura High School  

JJ Botello, 14, Albuquerque, N.M., Hispanic 

Deviond Gachupin, 13, Albuquerque, N.M, Pueblo of Jemez 

Alyssa Rodriguez, 15, Albuquerque, NM, Hispanic, West Mesa High School 

Maddison Long, 15, Albuquerque, NM, Coeur d’Alene/Diné, Volcano Vista High School 

Olivia Long, 13, Albuquerque, NM, Coeur d’Alene/Diné