Girls golf takes off |

Girls golf takes off

Joelle MilholmGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Post Independent/Kelley Cox

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. The fairways rest under a blanket of snow and the greens are frozen, but for high school girl golfers, it’s time to tee off.In the 10 days the teams have been able to practice, Rifle and Glenwood have each played one round of golf outdoors. Everything else has been inside.For the most part, teams have been driving Wiffle balls in gyms, putting in hallways and learning about form and technique from their coaches.Glenwood has the most girls out of area teams this season, with 18 players on the roster. Despite losing state golfers Lisa Richards and Emily Hauptli to graduation, the Demons show a lot of promise. Michelle Stripp and Maggee Becker return from last year’s varsity team in hopes of leading Glenwood. Natasha Derby will also join the Demons, after the Glenwood girls basketball season is over (the Demons are currently in the Final Four). Of the 18 girls, 16 are underclassmen and four are brand- new golfers. Two of the young golfers are freshmen Kelsey Warkentin and Stephanie Wilson, who contacted Glenwood head coach Kathy Whiting last spring as eighth-graders and have since taken lessons to prepare for their prep careers.”It will be building year for them, but they will see time,” Whiting said.Glenwood had scrimmages set up in Rifle and Delta last week, but the Demons couldn’t play because of snow. Instead, Whiting instructed the team to compete in a different fashion.”We set up a nine-hole putting course, like a miniature golf course and they kept score, so they are learning how to keep score,” she said. “Some of them had never kept score before.”Whiting also put on a rules clinic where 55 golfers and 10 coaches from around the Western Slope were on hand to learn and touchup on rules for the upcoming season.On Saturday, the Demons finally got to play a round of golf outside, thanks to the relentless determination of Whiting, who took the team west until it found an open course. The trip clocked almost 100 miles on the odometer as Tiara Rado, in Grand Junction, was the first open course.”My varsity girls got 18 holes in. My new girls got nine and we spent a couple of hours on the driving range,” Whiting said. The Demons will go west again on Tuesday and Wednesday, teeing off first at Tiara Rado, then at Adobe Creek on Wednesday.

Rifle may only have six golfers, but they are so good at the game, they’ll be able to carry the team, according to coach Penny Sykes. Sykes was head coach at Rifle for 12 years and is now filling in for Duke Earl, who is taking time off to recover from some health problems”We only have six girls, but it is a really strong field,” said Sykes. “All of the girls are back from last year.”Highlighting the Bears’ squad is Ashley Chastain, a senior who recently received a scholarship to play at Florida Tech next year.”She has been the heart of this team for the four years that she has been here,” Sykes said of Chastain. “She has lots of enthusiasm for this year, and I know that Ashley will be a strong player for us this year and a leader.”Senior Carrie Kreimier and juniors Kori Kosht and Amanda Quick join Chastain in returning to the squad this year, and will look to build on successful seasons last year. Freshman Loren Forney, who had an impressive summer on the ACE Junior Golf circuit, will also help the Bears in her first year “She comes from a longtime golf family,” Sykes said of Forney. “She is going to be an extraordinarily strong member of our team and will be a real asset to us this year. When it comes to the game of golf, she knows what she’s doing.”Like the Demons, Rifle will begin its season on Tuesday at Tiara Rado in Grand Junction. When the regular season is over, Rifle will be hosting Western Slope regionals May 7-8.”We have a pretty good schedule and we are hosting regionals, so we are looking forward to that,” Sykes said.

Coal Ridge head coach Scott Zevin has a goal for the Titans, who will tee off in their second year of existence this spring. “We just want to really keep growing as a team; without seniors it makes things tough. But we just want to learn the game and have fun,” Zevin said. “The girls are so young at the sport, and I just want them to love golf and make it a lifetime sport for them.”Seven Titans make up the 2007 team, lead by returning juniors Callie Schlegel, Kayla Groves and Nadine Chavez. Like the other teams, Coal Ridge has yet to have a day outside, but are highly anticipating getting out at Lakota Canyon – its home course in New Castle. “We’ve been hitting into a lot of nets. Hitting a lot of Wiffle balls,” Zevin said. “And putting down the carpet in the hallways and trying to find fun challenging games to keep things competitive.”Coal Ridge will play its first tournament March 20 at Lincoln Park in Grand Junction.

After playing a junior varsity schedule in its first year as a team, Grand Valley will jump into its first-ever varsity season this spring.Six girls are back from last year’s team and, joined by one new freshman, seven Cardinals hope to improve their games and lay the foundation for the program.”The girls are mostly just here to have fun,” said head coach Erin Hunt. “They don’t have this attitude where they want to go out and win every tournament. They have some personal goals and will just be learning about the game.”Nicole Arrowood, Leslie Langston, Danielle Nobel, Dani Gonzales, Brittani Rowe, Kaity Brown and Shari Heikkla make up Grand Valley’s inaugural squad.Grand Valley also hasn’t been able to play outside, but has been learning about the rules and competed one day of practicing inside. Hunt hopes the weather will clear up so the Cardinals can get some time on the links before their first tournament March 20 at Lincoln Park in Grand Junction.

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