4A state girls golf: Wet weather makes event memorable
CLASS 4A STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS
Tuesday at River Valley Ranch Golf Club, Carbondale
1. Cheyenne Mountain 499; 2. Colorado Academy 504; 3. Valor Christian 517; 4. Greeley Unified 548; 5. D’Evelyn 553; 6. Montrose 566; 7. Pueblo West 569.
INDIVIDUAL SCORES (Top 25)
1. Jennifer Kupcho, Jefferson Academy, 70-69 139; 2. Kylee Sullivan, Cheyenne Mountain, 73-76 149; 3. Erin Sargent, Silver Creek, 74-77 151; 4. Kiselya Plewe, Dolores, 80-76 156; 5. Hannah More, Mullen, 78-80 158; 6. Adara Pauluhn, Niwot, 82-77 159; 7. Lauren Murphy, Glenwood Springs, 79-80 159; 8. Kacey Godwin, Colorado Academy, 83-79 163; 9. Cassie Kneen, Colorado Academy, 82-81 163; 10. Emilee Strausburg, D’Evelyn, 164; 11. Sarah Hwang, St. Mary’s 84-81 165; 12. Tori Goodman, Falcon, 71-84 165; 13. Reiley Waldo, Durango, 84-82 166; 14. Kellsey Sample, Palmer Ridge, 81-85 166; 15. Brooke Lucero, Rye, 84-84 168; 16. Mariah Ehrman, Jefferson Academy, 84-84 168; 17. Colleen Casey, Estes Park, 80-90 170; 18. Megan Vernon, Golden, 89-82 171; 19. Lauren Cruz, Greeley Unified, 80-91 171; 20. Kelsey McKenna, Air Academy, 81-90 171; 21. Makayla Dahl, Valor Christian, 83-89 172; 22. Ashley Roo, Valor Christian, 90-82-172; 23. Sophia Montoya, Pueblo South, 87-85 172; 24. Courtney Ewing, Pueblo West, 82-90 172; 25. Caitlyn Olson, Greeley Unified, 86-87 173.
Other Garfield County finishers: 30. Melissa Steinbach, Coal Ridge, 88-88 176; 48. Elly Walters, Rifle, 93-98 191.
CARBONDALE — Melissa Steinbach wanted her final round of high school golf to be memorable. Mother Nature made sure that would happen for everyone Tuesday at the Class 4A State Championships.
While there were doubts headed into the second and final round about how much of, or even if, the round would be played, the weather at River Valley Ranch Golf Club provided its share of memories. Two lightning delays, along with some off-and-on rain and hail, made the conditions on the golf course miserable for anyone who was swinging a golf club.
“Those were pretty brutal,” said Steinbach, who had just finished up her fourth appearance in the girls golf state tournament. “It was raining for a while, and then it was hailing, and then it was windy.
“And then it was sunny after all of that,” the Coal Ridge High School senior continued. “You know. That’s what you come to expect from Colorado weather.”
But that weather didn’t keep the tournament from going the distance. The lightning delays provided close to two hours of stoppage time, with the tournament’s final groups not getting back to the clubhouse until around 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday — more than seven hours after they teed off.
That rain, hail and wind also didn’t stop Jennifer Kupcho from continuing to reign as Class 4A’s girls golf champion. The Jefferson Academy senior who’ll attend Wake Forest next year on a golf scholarship shot a blistering 5-under 139 over two rounds for a 10-shot victory over second-place Kylee Sullivan of Cheyenne Mountain, who finished at 5 over. Including last year’s state championship that was won at the Country Club of Colorado in Colorado Springs, Kupcho won both tournaments by a combined 24 strokes.
Another repeat winner was Cheyenne Mountain, which pulled away during the second day to win its third consecutive team title. The Indians finished with a score of 499, with a hard-charging Colorado Academy (504) rallying on the second day but finishing second. Valor Christian (517) and Greeley Unified (548) followed in the team standings.
Steinbach shot identical rounds of 88 both Monday and Tuesday to finish in 30th place at 176. Those identical rounds wound up with opposite results, though. On Monday, she shot 10 over on the front nine and six over on the back nine. Then on Tuesday, she shot six over on the front nine before shooting 10 over on the back nine.
The weather, she said, had something to do with that.
“We got nine holes done, and then the weather went way downhill,” she said. “And then my score went way downhill.”
Showing some resiliency was Glenwood Springs High School freshman Lauren Murphy, who managed a solid seventh-place finish with a final score of 15-over 159. Niwot’s Adara Pauluhn also shot a 159 over two days but finished sixth since her second-day score (77) was better than Murphy’s (80).
Still, it was a historic day in a sense for the Glenwood girls golf program. Murphy’s performance was the best for Glenwood Springs High School’s girls golf team since the fifth-place finish of Michelle Stripp in 2008.
“She’s going to get right back at it, too,” said Glenwood coach Clem Michel, noting that Murphy is going to go play in a tournament down in Denver this coming weekend. “It’s very exciting to think of what we could see in the next three years.”
One of the area’s most exciting young golfers, Elly Walters of Rifle, had a rough tournament. She finished in 48th place with a two-day score of 191, including a season-high of 98 on Tuesday.
“Everyone who plays golf knows there’s going to be days when your game is really off, but it sucks that this had to happen on the two days when I’d really like to be playing my best,” said Walters, who was holding back tears as she spoke. “But this was a good experience for me, and I’ll be back.”
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