DENVER -- Riverdale Ridge High School is this year's best golf team in class 4A.
The Ravens won the team title Oct. 5 by nine shots over Windsor High School. It's Riverdale Ridge's first state team title in the school's history.
Youth ruled the two-day tournament at City Park Golf Course. Will Balliet, who qualified for state a year ago as a freshman, led the charge for the Ravens. He fired a 70 in the second round and finished at 2-over 142 and wound up in a fifth-place tie. He had two birdies in the opening round and followed that up with two more birdies in the closing round.
"My performance personally didnt surprise me at all," Balliet said.."I struggled a little this season. But the last few weeks, I was playing well and I was confident that it was going to be good."
That helped, and so did sticking to his normal routine.
"Taking deep breaths and being super positive," Balliet said. "Nothing was really disappointing, though I would've liked to play a little better and win the individual."
Bradley Weinmaster, another sophomore, held the lead into the second round of the two-day tournament. He finished the second round with a 77 and was 6-over in the tournament. Weinmaster, who tied for 10th, carded three birdies Oct. 4 and three more Oct. 5.
Weinmaster said his performance surprised him.
"Day 1, an opening 69, really helped my confidence," Weinmaster said. "After that round, I had a smile on my face ear to ear. Normally my driver works for me, and I proved that . I drove it like Tiger, and it pleased me."
Weinmaster had second-round trouble on the ninth hole.
"On nine, I had a really good shot, and it went well. And it flew about 1 yard short of clearing the water," he said. "I dropped, knowing I lost a chance at (the) individual (championship)."
The pressure was front and center.
"I felt pressure the first day the first shot of the tournament. I was shaking and it was scary," he said. "Other than that, it was pretty relaxed."
Balliet thought any pressure was widespread..
"I think the pressure was there for everyone on the team, and I think it showed on the last couple holes, Balliet said. "But I felt like it was just another tournament for me, and I think it showed."
Balliet said the team's performance was what he figured.
"It didnt surprise me at all," he said. "I trusted my team, and I believed in them to go out and get the job done."
Yet another sophomore, Aiden Sweeney carded a 3-over 73 in the second round and finished 8-over for the tourney. He finished in a three-way tie for 13th place. His two rounds included three birdies. Freshman Carter Seis fired an 81 and finished with a 165, good for a six-way tie for 54th place.
"The course was fair for me. It set up well for me, and it tested more of the mental side of me," Balliet said. "I battled through it well."
"This course was tough. The pins were ruthless and wouldn’t give you anything," Weinmaster said. "But it was fun.
"I want to thank my team for bringing us the tournament title."
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