Bears claw way to 4A Western Regional team title |

Bears claw way to 4A Western Regional team title

Jeff Caspersen
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

Taylor Walters finished first as an individual, but the team title meant far more to the Rifle High School junior.

Carding an 86 on a challenging course at Dos Rios Golf Club in Gunnison, Walters helped Rifle’s girls golfers to a 4A Western Regional team title on Tuesday.

The Bears posted a team score of 277, 10 strokes ahead of second-place Montrose, meaning Walters and teammates Alyx Carter and Allison Powell are bound for the May 21-22 state tournament at Boomerang Golf Links in Greeley.

“That was even better than getting first,” Walters said by phone on Tuesday. “It means a lot to go as a team. I’m really excited, and I’m really happy for them to get the experience.”

Walters will be making her third trip to state in as many years. It didn’t come easily, as the entire field in Gunnison had to contend with a course rife with hazards.

“It’s just a tough course,” Walters said. “Water comes into play on every single hole besides No. 2. I mean, that kind of says it all. You can get in so much trouble. There are a lot of trees, too. You definitely have to play smart.”

Carter shot a 93 to place seventh overall and Powell a 98 to take ninth.

Rifle and Montrose routinely finished within a few strokes of each other at tournaments all season, so edging out the Indians in Gunnison meant a lot to the Bears.

“We have so much respect for Montrose’s program,” Rifle assistant coach Kenda Spaulding said. “They always set the bar high. It was nice to step it up today and take first.”

Glenwood Springs exchange student Caroline Tham-Johansson, who hails from Sweden, carded a 90 to finish in a tie for third with Coal Ridge’s Melissa Steinbach. Steinbach officially took third place via a scorecard playoff, but both secured state berths.

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