Former Major League Baseball player Alex Rodriguez hit a home run with his comment that hard work doesn’t guarantee success but without it you don’t have a chance. Several hard-working area golfers will be among the individual contenders at the three boys state high school golf tournaments set for Oct. 1-2 after posting low scores in regional qualifying tournaments.
Two of those individuals are Arapahoe’s Jack Tickle and Riley Rottschaefer, who tied for medalist honors at the Sept. 19 Class 5A Southern Regional with 1-under-par scores of 71 at Murphy Creek Golf Course and led the Warriors to the regional team title.
“Jack was really serious about this golf season,” said Arapahoe coach Harry Buckner. “He practiced every day this summer and played in many tournaments. He would call other players on the team at eight o’clock in the morning and ask them if they wanted to hit balls. He deserves the season he is having. He worked hard and he is as steady of a golfer as I have ever had and has a good chance at state.
“Riley hits the ball a mile. He is left-handed and has a left-hander’s mentality. There isn’t a par-five that he can’t reach in two. Jack and Riley both have complete games, length, finesse and touch.”
The 5A state tourney will be at the Colorado Springs Country Club while the 4A state event is set for The Club at Flying Horse in Colorado Springs. The Boulder County Club host sthe 3A tournament.
And, after looking at regional scores that I can only write about and never shoot, it appears there are dozens of individuals and several teams that have a chance to capture top honors assuming they work hard on the golf course for two October days.
Valor Christian’s Jake Welch carded a 4-under-par 68 at Legacy Ridge for the low round at the Central Regional on Sept. 17 and helped the Eagles tie for the team title which Fairview won in a playoff.
Tarek Salem of Highlands Ranch was in a four-player tie for second at the Western Regional held at Redlands Mesa Golf Club with a 1-over-par 73. He was also deadlocked with Jack Larson and Gage Messingham of Ralston Valley, who sparked the Mustangs to the team title. Horizon’s Ryan Bomareto was the individual winner with a 1-under 71.
“Jack and Gage played a very smart round,” said Ralston Valley coach Jeff Wasinger. “They were both very close to the top of the leaderboard all day. Once they posted their scores, we knew we had a two-shot cushion with our number three (Ben Lenahan) and four (Trey Kirschner) still on the course. One of them had to close the deal by paring the final three holes. Lenahan did it and Kirschner came close.”
Lakewood’s Ryan Liao came in with a 4-under-par 68 at the Northern Regional held at Murphy Creek on Sept. 18 but came in second to Dillon Stewart of team champion Fossil Ridge who fired a 9-under-par 63.
Holy Family’s Jacob Mason carded a 4-under 67 at Common Ground Golf Course to earn the medalist ribbon at the 3A Region 2 tournament and Ponderosa won the 4A Region 2 team title as Mac Konrad secured medalist honors with a 4-over-par 76 on the Silver Course at the Air Force Academy.
“The Colorado Springs Country Club, depending on how the course is set up on tournament days especially the greens, can be a little tricky,” said Wasinger. “The course can play long or short also depending on where they set up the tees. I expect the top scorers to be breaking par but probably not as many as in the four regionals and also probably not as low.”
Anything can happen and has happened at state tournaments.
“There are some good teams in the state and I think if we play “A” golf in Colorado Springs we might be able to surprise these teams that are winning the regionals,” said Highlands Ranch coach Jon Cushing.
Seems as if schools in Parker are powers this season in girls volleyball.
Chaparral is No.1 in the CHSAANow.com Class 5A poll and Lutheran is top-ranked in the 3A ratings. Ponderosa, which plays against the big girls in the 5A Continental League, is second in the 4A poll.
And, the highly regarded status of each program is nothing new and many people still remember six or seven years ago.
Chap compiled a 63-1 record in 2011 and 2012 with two state championships and at one time won 58 dual meets in a row. The Wolverines have had only one losing season in 12 years.
“At Chaparral we put a huge value on the `Chap Fam,’” said Amanda West, who has been head coach at Chaparral for the past four seasons. “Most of these girls on the current team have played together for a few years and we feel like we have created a small family.”
Lutheran, coached by Alicia Oates, won Class 2A state titles in 2011 and 2012 and was a 3A state runner-up last season under Oates’ mentorship. The Lions were a 2A runner up in 2013.
Ponderosa won the 5A state championship in 2009 and has been a state contending threat in most seasons despite dropping down a classification.
Jim Benton is a sports writer for Colorado Community Media. He has been covering sports in the Denver area since 1968. He can be reached at email@example.com or at 303-566-4083.
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