Holy Family brought back its girls golf team this season and the Tigers went ahead and skipped the whole rebuilding thing. What team would want to rebuild when it could simply jump right into the upper tiers of Colorado Class 3A golf, anyway?
If presented with the option, no team.
So in their first year back with a program, the Tigers just won the 4A/3A Tri-Valley League title, capping their conference title on Wednesday at Pelican Lakes. Tigers freshman Hailey Schalk, who won every tournament, led the way by claiming the individual title.
"I think the most important thing is having that good centerpiece," Tigers head coach Matt Schalk said. "Having one of the best players in the country doesn't hurt, and it also sets the standard for our team and how we practice and prepare because the girls see how she works. We had some girls to start the season who we were thinking, 'Well, maybe we can get some of these girls to break a hundred by the end.' But they're extremely hard-working and, you know what, some of those same girls have shot rounds in the 80s this season."
The thing is: this doesn't appear to be a one-and-done, flash-in-the-pan type of performance. The Tigers could be set up for a run of dominance over the next several years.
Schalk, for instance, is the daughter of a golf pro (Yes, coach Matt Schalk, who is the pro at Colorado National) and has been playing since she was five years old. She's currently ranked among the top players in the country by the Junior Golf Scoreboard rankings and averaged 71.1 strokes in conference play as a ninth-grader.
Tigers teammate Meghan Vogt finished second in the final Tri-Valley standings, averaging 79.7 strokes in league play. Oh, and she's also a freshman.
Junior Heather Stauter was the Tigers' third player to crack the top 10 in Tri-Valley final standings, placing ninth. Senior Annika Achziger will graduate after this season, but the team expects its No. 5 player, sophomore Brittany Floyd, to make big strides in coming years.
"When we first decided to start the team, we decided not to cut anybody," Matt Schalk said. "We really wanted to work on teaching these girls and getting them better for the long haul. We've got a lot of good, young girls who are coming up and we feel good about where we'll be in the coming years."
With 2017 regionals and state on the horizon, it will be interesting to see where the Tigers will be in just the coming weeks. In the coming years, they could be competing for a state title.