Solid state debut for Rifle’s Taylor Walters |

Solid state debut for Rifle’s Taylor Walters

Jeff Caspersen
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

MONTROSE, Colorado – Taylor Walters saved her best round for the biggest of stages.

On Monday, the Rifle High School freshman opened the Class 4A girls golf state tournament with a 9-over-par 81 – her best round yet. She returned to the links at Cobble Creek Golf Course in Montrose on Tuesday and shot a 91, giving her a two-round score of 172 and a 20th-place finish.

“I’m pretty happy,” Walters said by phone Tuesday night. “Yesterday, I had my best round so far, so I had a ton of fun yesterday. I kind of struggled today.”

Even with her Tuesday struggles, Walters soaked up the state experience. Paired with Evergreen’s Christina Spinzig and Jesse O’Dell – both top-10 finishers – Walters found herself watching and learning.

“I golfed with two awesome golfers,” she said. “I was a little nervous, knowing they were good and I was struggling. It was kind of hard at first, but I kept telling myself I belong here, I can do it. I kept pushing. I like playing with the better girls. It makes me push myself. I watch and learn things. It helps a lot.”

Walters plans on polishing her game this summer and returning with a vengeance next spring.

“I got a taste of state, so I know what is expected next year,” she said. “I’ll be practicing. I know what to work on.”

Walters will get that work in tournaments this summer, and practicing on her own.

“I’m going to try to get in as many tournaments as I can,” she said. “I’ll try to make it to Denver for some bigger tournaments. … I’m going to practice real hard this summer. I want to go back [to state]. It’s a lot of fun. I want to keep improving.”

Walters’ teammate, Allison Powell, also made her state debut in Montrose. The sophomore shot a 244 to finish up in 81st place.

Glenwood Springs sent a pair of athletes to state – Kelsey Warkentin and Stephanie Wilson. The seniors finished up in the middle of the 83-golfer field.

Warkentin opened with a 98 and closed with a 94 and placed in a tie for 51st with a score of 192, while Wilson’s 99 and 107 put her in 65th place with a 206.

“I thought the girls basically shot their averages,” Whiting said. “With the state pressure, and with it being so windy and cold, I was pleased with them.”

The elements made for a long Monday. Wind delayed the action for more than four hours.

Still, the Demons accomplished their goals.

For Warkentin, that was to shoot below a 95. Wilson, whose average has plummeted from around 120 last year into the high 90s and low 100s this year, just wanted to make it to state.

“Stephanie worked very hard last year on her swing,” Whiting said. “This was quite a reward.”

Wilson will play golf in college next year. She’s headed to Colorado Christian University.

Warkentin will attend the University of Northern Colorado, where she’ll concentrate solely on her studies.

Salida’s Emily Wood won the state tournament for the second straight year, shooting a 3-under-par 69 on Tuesday to finish with a two-round score of 147.

Rock Canyon’s Allie Johnston finished second, carding a 150.

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