LITTLETON - The foundation has been set for Mead. In its inaugural season, the Mavericks' boys golf team was full of talent, just lacking a little needed experience to get over the hump at the state tournament.
Both T.J. Shehee and Kellen Kudrna shot an eight-over-par 80 on Tuesday to finish at 14-over for the tournament. Shehee played with Silver Creek for the last two state tournaments, so he knew what he was getting into this week. Now to get Mead to become a full-time contender, he just has to use his knowledge to help his team reach a new level.
"The only way to go is up," Shehee said. "I was happy that our school got a team and I think we'll be able to do better next year."
Shehee thinks a big reason that the program can grow is that coach Mike Ward has a strong sense of how to develop the players and get the most out of their abilities on the course.
In Shehee's mind, there was no one better to head the program than Ward.
"He's probably the best motivational speaker I know," Shehee said. "He helped me out a lot when I was feeling down on the course. A lot of the credit for us being here has to go to him."
It was Kudrna's first time at state and although he didn't get the finish that he wanted, he knows that the experience he gained this year will help him and other members of the team in the future.
"We have a lot of talent," he said. "We know we're going to be better next year. I think we can bring a full team to state and I think this gives us confidence going into next year."
What he saw in his guys this year was the leadership role that both Kudrna and Shehee brought to the table.
Even though both are only juniors, they assumed the responsibilities that come with being the top guys.
"That starts the framework of continuing into the future," Ward said. "The kids will play with confidence, knowing their teammates have their back."
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Class 4A state tournament
At Raccoon Creek G.C.
Team scores — 1. Montrose, +34; 2. Evergreen, +40; 3. Valor Christian, +43; 4. Palmer Ridge, +46; 5. Thompson Valley, +54.
Top individuals — 1. Darren Edwards, Thompson Valley, +2; t2. Bridger Tenney, Evergreen, +5; t2. Barrett Jones, Eagle Valley, +5..
Other results — Kellen Kudrna, Mead, +14; T.J. Shehee, Mead, +14; Nicholas Vaver, Centaurus, +16; Jack Hoover, Niwot, +30; David Brett, Silver Creek, +32; Sam Hoover, Niwot, +33; Adam Gannon, Longmont, +41; Nick Formby, Frederick, +45.