5A, 4A, 3A loaded with talented players, teams
The boys golf season got underway Thursday, with three classes of golfers breaking in the 2017-18 sports year on the CHSAA calendar. The teams and players to watch this fall:
Eaglecrest senior Davis Bryant is the obvious frontrunner for an individual state title, having been the runner-up last season in addition to winning the Colorado Junior PGA Championship this summer.
In the team race, defending state champion Regis Jesuit again has the advantage. The Raiders return seniors Cal Mccoy and Drew Anderson, both of whom tied for sixth place at state, and Regis Jesuit shot a programrecord 12-under to win the season-opening Continental League meet by a whopping 18 strokes at Deer Creek Country Club last week.
“Those two guys are going to lead us,” Regis Jesuit coach Craig Rogers said. “But throughout the season and during our Continental League schedule ... the importance and skill of our other guys will emerge too.”
Rogers said Lakewood, Fossil Ridge and Cherry Creek will be good again this year, as will Front Range League archrivals Boulder and Fairview.
State tournament: Oct. 2-3, Commonground Golf Course in Aurora.
Defending individual state champion Luke Trujillo is back for Discovery Canyon, and he joins fellow senior Caleb Blackburn (10th at state) as well as talented emerging players in making the Thunder the favorite to repeat as a team.
“I’ve got pretty strong classes in my juniors, sophomores and freshmen that just came in too, so the future here is really bright,” said Discovery Canyon coach Mark Liggett.
And there are other players who will challenge Trujillo, who defeated Silver Creek graduate Jackson Solem in a playoff for the state title last year, for another championship. Thompson Valley senior Darren Edwards (tied for fourth at state), Roosevelt senior Tyler Severin (sixth), Eagle Valley senior Barrett Jones (tied for seventh) and Montrose sophomore Micah Stangebye (tied for seventh) are contenders too.
Team-wise, Liggett said Cheyenne Mountain, Valor Christian, Silver Creek and Evergreen will be contenders again come October.
“That’s the thing about this sport — just like our program has a number of talented underclassmen that people don’t necessarily know about yet, other teams could have one or two of those guys too,” Liggett said.
State tournament: Oct.
2-3, Raccoon Creek Golf Course in Littleton.
In the state’s smallest golf classification, a perennial powerhouse program is in the spotlight early in the season. Defending champion Kent Denver, whose nine titles are more than any other program in the state, returns its top three golfers.
Senior Oliver Jack was the individual state champion last season. Junior Jackson Klutznick (fourth) and sophomore Ben Zimmerman (10th) also headline a Sun Devils team that is deeper than just its veterans.
“It was really close last year for who made our varsity, so I’m returning five of my best six golfers and I’ve got a really good freshman coming in as well,” said Kent Denver coach Bob Austin.
The Sun Devils will be tested against nationally elite competition at the Antigua National High School Golf Invitational, Sept. 1-2 in Chandler, Ariz. Class 5A power Regis Jesuit also will be playing there.
“We’ll need to be better throughout the fall,” Austin said, “because there’s a couple other teams in the state that are right where we are, no question about it.”
Peak to Peak — state runner-up by only three strokes last year — brings back seniors Ethan Tartaglia (third), Nishant Datta and Ian Thorpe, both of whom tied for sixth.
State tournament: Oct.
2-3, Indian Peaks Golf Course in Lafayette.