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Team-by-team outlook

Class 5A
Boulder Panthers
Coach: Russell Selnau
The Scorecard: Selnau, the second-year coach at Boulder, said his program graduated three varsity players from last season but will return two in junior Luke Blankinship and sophomore Doug Holleman. Blankinship qualified for the Class 5A state tournament last year, finishing 82nd, and his coach said he has since improved his game to make another push at a state bid this season. Holleman, meanwhile, is coming off a strong freshman campaign, where his coach noted that he “played some phenomenal rounds of golf during league matches”. Others vying to join them in the varsity ranks include seniors Theo Sustronk and Ethan Reich, though Selnau said there a number of talented juniors and underclassmen who could rise into the varsity ranks as well.

Broomfield Eagles
Coach: Tony Ferraro
The Scorecard: Sawyer Hyten, a junior, returns after he was one of two players from Broomfield to qualify for the 5A state tournament last season. Hyten finished 40th at The Club at Rolling Hills  in Golden, while the now-graduated Ben Reifschneider tied for 55th. Hyten will be joined by returning varsity players Will Kaplan, a senior, and Mason Hill, a sophomore. Will Tennyson, meanwhile, who was the Eagles’ fifth player last year, could round out the foursome with coach Ferraro saying they “expect big things from him this year”. Ferraro, in his eighth season as coach at Broomfield, said his top four have played well in the offseason and he expects the team to do well in the Front Range League and qualify for the state tournament.

Fairview Knights
Coach: John Zerwin
The Scorecard: The Knights graduated their two state qualifiers from last fall in Sam Knowlton and Trey Harman, but they do return a nice core of players. Sawyer Sales is back after a strong finish to his fall campaign, and he’ll be joined by Matti Zerwin, Noah Sherry and Chandler Levy. Other names to look out for include Ethan Ostenfeld, Nathan Sager and Ramsey Shaffer. “Looking forward to this crop of players getting a chance to show what they can do,” coach Zerwin said. “We have a great core of Sawyer, Matti, Noah and Chandler with a nice group of new players. If they all continue to work and improve, we should have some great results.”

Legacy Lightning
Coach: Bobby Ortega
The Scorecard: Longtime coach Ortega is hoping Legacy can finish inside the top five in a competitive Front Range League and qualify a team for the state tournament. At his arsenal, senior Tommy Hammond returns after he finished tied for third at the 5A Northern Regional tournament and 64th at state. Deven Sehr returns after he tied for 12th at regionals and took 70th at state. Also back in the mix is Nick Patricolo and John McNabb, who were both lettermen for Legacy last year. The Lightning finished fourth at regionals, just six strokes back from qualifying for state as a team.

Monarch's Caleb Michaels tees off on ...
Daily Camera file photo
Monarch’s Caleb Michaels

Monarch Coyotes
Coach: Geoff Findley
The Scorecard: Findley said the Coyotes have seven or eight guys who can consistently shoot in the 70s. Now that’s deep. At the top, junior Caleb Michaels is a standout who has gotten better in each of his first two prep seasons. Last year, he won the season’s opening tournament after high school sports returned in the pandemic, and he eventually took 17th at the 5A state tournament at The Club at Rolling Hills. Also back is sophomore Jackson Harberts, who was 57th at state, senior Ian Henderson, 69th, and Talan Gover, who narrowly missed qualifying. “Goals for the season all focus around peaking at the right time, finishing high in the Front Range League and hopefully qualifying four players for the state championships,” said Findley, who is now in his fourth year ahead of the Coyotes. “Many of our returning players have worked extremely hard over the summer fine-tuning their games.”

Class 4A

Centaurus Warriors
Coach: Ricardo Cabrera
The Scorecard: The Warriors graduated state golfer Ryan Vaver, who finished 16th at the Class 4A tournament last year. But they do return a strong core in Will Kelly, Jeffrey Solcum, Asa Wentworth, as well as the third Vaver to be a part of the program, Matthew Vaver. Cabrera also said his team has a strong sophomore and freshman class in the wings. “I believe we can break CHS records this year,” the coach said. “My goal for the team is to qualify two-to-three players into the state championship. I am excited to see our returning players from last year’s team fulfill their personal goals and the seniors on our team to finish their fourth season with a bang.”

Erie Tigers
Coach: Brandon Bird
The Scorecard: The Tigers are expecting a big jump this season after finishing fifth in the Northern Colorado Athletic Conference and 14th at their regional tournament. “Although we lost four solid seniors, the top four should average lower scores this year,” said Bird, the voice of Erie athletics who is now in his fourth year as coach. “We really want to be top three in our league this season and get a couple of golfers to state.” Keagan McKinsey is back after he finished third on the team at regionals, while Carson Pember, Carter Navulur, Dylan Donahue and Logan Wilson also return. Others to watch include Donovan O’Brien, Hudson Willard and “a slew of newcomers that are sure to surprise”, Bird said. “It should be pretty exciting to see which four golfers rise to the top of a deep squad,” the coach added.

Frederick High School
Coach: Chris DeSantis
The Scorecard: Look out for senior Jake Chesler in the race to be Class 4A’s best. Last year, Chesler won an individual league title in the Longs Peak League, led his team to a title in the LPL and finished fourth at the state tournament at the Country Club of Colorado. It was the third straight season he finished inside the top 10 at state. He’ll be joined by senior Cole Greff, who was a state alternate a year ago, as well as sophomore Samuel Negrete, sophomore Kyle Spence and senior Christian Van Winkle. DeSantis, in his fourth season as coach, said Frederick is looking for a third straight league title and wants to make a run at qualifying for the state tournament.

Longmont Trojans
Coach: Matthew Engelking
The Scorecard: Engelking takes over the golf program, further adding to his coach resume at Longmont where he has long been a successful wrestling coach. He inherits a program with no returning state qualifiers as last year’s lone state participant Adam Gannon graduated. But he believes he has some talented players at his disposal, including Trace Saunders, Liam Bunta, Matt Hunter, Cody Saunders and Jack Abernathy. Trace Saunders, for one, nearly made the state cut last year, finishing 26th at the regionals at Quail Dunes. Another step and he could make the jump into the 4A tournament this fall.

Mead Mavericks
Coach: Michael Ward
The Scorecard: The Mavericks, touting fifth-year coach Ward and three returning players who were inside the top 50 in their regional last year, are looking for solid play this fall. Back are Ethan Turner, who finished tied for 41st at last year’s region, as is Logan Williams, 41st, and Nick Basson, 48th. Others to keep an eye out for include Josh Dowlin — a player his coach said improved throughout the offseason and “should have an immediate impact” in the fall. Another nice prospect could be Dominic Calvetti, a player eyeing to compete for a varsity spot.

Niwot Cougars
Coach: Ed Weaver
The Scorecard: Christopher Gunlikson, a senior, returns to the prep golf scene after having one of the best golf seasons in the area a year ago. Gunlikson finished fifth at his regional to qualify for state, where he took 57th. The Cougars also bring back Carlos Kipkorir and Emmet Shell, who helped them to a third-place finish in the Longs Peak League last year.  Others rising in the ranks include Ryan Lady and Andrew Stapp. “All our returning varsity players have worked on their games over the summer and should be ready to compete for a league championship and qualify a team for the state tournament,” said Weaver, who is in his eighth season as coach at Niwot.

Silver Creek Raptors
Coach: Tyler Bishop
The Scorecard: The Raptors return four varsity players, including state qualifiers Ben Harding and Josh Lurie. Harding, sensational in his sophomore campaign, finished runner-up in the Northern Colorado Athletic Conference and tied for 18th at the 4A state tournament at the Country Club of Colorado. Coming into the season, his prestige as a rising golfer grew last week as he won the title at the Colorado Junior Match Play tournament at City Park Golf Course in Denver. Going to extra holes, he chipped in from 45 feet for the decisive birdie. Lurie, meanwhile, finished 65th at state a year ago.  Silver Creek took third at regionals in Bishop’s first season at the helm.

Skyline Falcons
Coach: Eric Leick
The Scorecard: The Falcons return three varsity seniors in Keaton Schell, Jackson Wanner and Declan Karch, who are all in their fourth year in the program. Caden Tapia is among those who could join the varsity ranks. The expectation for the group is reaching the state tournament as a team. When talking to Leick, he said he doesn’t know if the Falcons can land one of the two qualifying spots at their tough regional. But he thinks the team could get three individuals to qualify, which would score as team at state. “They all basically said, ‘We are qualifying’,” the coach noted. “I think the mental aspect of where they want to be is right.”

Class 3A

Dawson Mustangs
Coach: Arnie Lewis
The Scorecard: The Mustangs graduated their lone Class 3A state qualifier in Tommy Noonan from last year, but they appear to have a talented young roster in the wings. Sophomore Jimmy Leuchten is back after he won a playoff at last year’s regionals to secure a state alternate spot. Clayton Steinfort also returns after his game improved throughout last fall, his coach said. Others to watch include Albin Halquist, who had to play JV last year due to transfer rules, as well as Charlie Heathwood, Jackson and Noel Ringwald, and Guy Pollachek. “I have high expectations for our group and there will be plenty of competition for top varsity spots,” Dawson coach Arnie Lewis said as he enters his 20th season at the helm. “As the team competes, I look forward to watching them have fun while developing into top-level players.”

Holy Family Tigers
Coach: Will Wilson
The Scorecard: The Tigers didn’t qualify a team to the state tournament after finishing fifth in their region, but they’re excited to take a step forward this fall. “We expect to be strong competitors for league (Northern Colorado Athletic Conference), regionals and the state championships,” said Holy Family coach Will Wilson as he heads into his 16th year at the helm. His core this year includes an already proven sophomore in Rudi Heitz, who finished tied for 42nd at the Class 3A state tournament last year. Alongside him are quality players in senior Ben Achziger, sophomore Drake Krommenhoek and senior Dustin Fouts.

Daily Camera file photo
Jefferson Academy’s Ethan Runyon

Jefferson Academy Jaguars
Coach: Jason Hicks
The Scorecard: The Jaguars have a new coach in Hicks, taking over for Missy Schreiner. Hicks played golf for Cherry Creek from 1986-1990 and his son, TJ, was a top prep golfer, finishing 22nd for Cherry Creek at the 5A state tournament last year. The new coach inherits ace golfer Ethan Runyon, who has made the 3A state tournament in each of the last two seasons, finishing tied for 42nd a year ago. Also back is Jack McLucas, who had a hole-in-one on a par-3, 177-yard hole at last year’s state tournament, eventually finishing 67th.  Elsewhere, the Jags graduated five from a year ago but have four incoming freshmen as well as a sophomore transfer in Eli Brandow.

Peak to Peak Pumas
Coach: Michael Ventimiglia
The Scorecard: The Pumas are without their two state qualifiers from last season in William Mitchell and Adi Malhotra, and will roll out a very young squad this fall. Ventimiglia, in his fourth season in charge, said his team’s top five players include four sophomores and a freshman. Returning are George Grady, who his coach said has drastically improved his stroke average, as well as Jack Winter, Kaden Brooks and Rasesh Bhandari. Also look out for Noah Ventimiglia to possibly make some waves as a standout incoming freshman.

Prospect Ridge Academy Miners
Coach: Joe Taylor
The Scorecard: In Taylor’s second year with the Miners, they return two state qualifiers in Jason Arbuckle and Caden Koole. Arbuckle, a 2020 all-region first-team honoree by BoCoPreps, finished tied for 21st at the 3A tournament, while Koole tied for 49th. Since then, both have gotten better, said Taylor, as each has “had a full golf schedule this summer.” The coach added that each player has recorded personal best scores in the offseason and both have won a junior golf association tournament. The Miners, who took eighth at regionals last year, also return seniors Jake Stenger and Max Meador.

Point me to the postseason

Regional tournaments will take place between Sept. 20-24 at various locations. The 4A and 3A regions are already determined with Prospect Ridge, Peak to Peak, and Dawson in 3A Region 2, Holy Family in 3A Region 3, and all 4A Longs Peak League and Northern Colorado Athletic Conferences teams in 4A Region 3. The 5A regionals, which include the Front Range League, will be determined by programs’ league finishes. All three state tournaments will take place Oct. 4-5, with 5A playing at the Colorado Springs Country Club, 4A at City Park in Denver, and 3A competing at Spring Valley Golf Club in Elizabeth.

Prospect Ridge's Jason Arbuckle tees off ...
Daily Camera file photo
Prospect Ridge’s Jason Arbuckle

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