LONGMONT — Whenever the Holy Family girls golf team has played over its first two seasons, the focus has always be on two-time Class 3A state champion Hailey Schalk.
That's not likely to change.
This spring, however, the Tigers have a much deeper lineup than they did in 2018 and there's more reason for spectators to dedicate at least a glance to see how the Holy Family girls are faring at each tournament's team competition. The addition of talented players like freshman Jessica Mason and the steady improvement of several others have pushed the Tigers closer to contention, even though they moved up to 4A this season.
On Monday at Fox Hill Club, Schalk and Mason finished first and third, respectively, and the Tigers finished second in the fourth Tri-Valley League match off the spring. Considering that second place meant finishing 11 strokes behind defending 4A champion Windsor, the Tigers appear to have come a long way since they didn't even qualify for the team competition at last year's 3A state tournament.
"Jessica played well and that was big for us today," Tigers head coach Matt Schalk said. "She was third and she had a 10 on one hole. If she doesn't make that 10 and makes par on that hole, maybe she finishes tied for second. We're a little bit young and inexperienced after Hailey and Jessica but they're really hungry and they just continue to learn and improve. There's a lot of development going on but I think we'll get there, if not this year then next year."
To win Monday's league match, Hailey Schalk carded a 2-under 70. Mason, despite having to pencil in a 10 on the par-5 14th hole, finished with an 80 and five strokes behind runner-up Jessica Zapf of Windsor. Their Tigers teammates Makenna Bertsch and Brynn Hansen finished 15th and 17th, respectively.
Monday's final standings were fairly indicative of how the league season has transpired so far for the Tigers, who have been chasing Windsor since getting a late start to a weather-shortened spring. But positive signs continue to mount for Holy Family and at a tournament last week, the Tigers even tied Windsor in the team scoring.
"In my opinion, Windsor is the best in the state," Matt Schalk said. "So that was great to get a tie and, of course, to take second at this one. So far, we're off to a pretty good start."
The 4A Region 3 tournament will be played at Fox Hill so the course was set up on Monday to reflect the yardages the players will face in early May. That tournament will include local teams Erie, Centaurus, Frederick, Holy Family, Mead, Niwot, Silver Creek and Skyline. The course put many of those teams to the test on Monday, as a blustery wind made an already difficult course harder.
The Erie Tigers struggled to meet their own standards and finished third, 62 strokes behind Holy Family. Led by Timbre Shehee, who tied for fourth individually at 11-over, Mead finished three strokes behind sixth-place Frederick. Skyline was eighth.
"It was a rough day today," Mead head coach Mary Durkin said. "It was a little windy and they weren't used to the course, I think. It's a different style than the wide-open courses a lot of them are used to. It seems like it was affecting everyone but I know that for my girls, they were getting into trouble that they hadn't seen before."
Tri-Valley League Match #4
At The Fox Hill Club, par 72
Team scores — Windsor 244, Holy Family 255, Erie 317, Berthoud 325, Resurrection Christian 327, Frederick 328, Mead 331, Skyline 338.
Top individuals — 1. Hailey Schalk, Holy Family, 70; 2. Jessica Zapf, Windsor, 75; 3. Jessica Mason, Holy Family, 80; t4. Timbre Shehee, Mead, 83; t4. Sarah Johnson, Windsor, 83; 6. Anna Nacy, Windsor, 86; 7. Brynn Ellis, Windsor, 88; 8. Rylee Adkisson, Roosevelt, 93; 9. Lexi Ekern, Skyline, 97; 10. Olivia Fauerbach, Frederick, 98.
Other Holy Family results — t15. Makenna Bertsch 105; 17. Brynn Hansen 107; 22. Madison Rooney 111.
Other Mead results — 32. Jodean Amen 121; 35. Maddo Adams 127; 36. Addy Barnaby 129.
Other Skyline results — 27. Michelle Tran 115; t33. Kimberly Patterson 126.
Other Frederick results — 14. Payton Wallace 104; t33. Jenna Frenzel 126.
Erie results — t11. Mara Wissman 100; 18. Kathleen Jennings 108; 19. Madison Cantwell 109; t29. Madison Martinez 117; t29. April Fabre 117.