Glenwood Springs, Rifle set to swing away
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” Though preseason course time has been minimal, there’s no stopping the start of the girls golf season.
Glenwood Springs coach Kathy Whiting has had her 20 young golfers ” spread between the varsity and junior varsity ranks ” putting and chipping in the school hallways and perfecting their swings in the early going.
She also got them tee times at Battlement Mesa Golf Club in Parachute over the weekend in preparation for today’s season-opening tournament at Montrose’s Cobble Creek.
With plenty of seasoned golfers who are glued to the links whenever the weather allows, Whiting isn’t anticipating too much rust.
Returning to the Demon golf ranks this spring are two returning state qualifiers in junior Michelle Stripp and senior Maggee Becker and four Western Slope Regional participants in Stripp, Becker, Natasha Derby and Brittaney Cole. Derby’s a junior, and Cole’s a sophomore.
Add a slew of eager young golfers and Whiting likes the state of her program.
“We have a pretty good chance this year of placing at regionals and qualifying at state,” she said. “The girls have been working all winter long with inside practice. I know they’re pretty pumped. They play all summer long, take lessons all summer long, and we try to get ’em jobs at golf courses, too.”
In addition to the program’s aforementioned veterans, Whiting sees the potential for big things in Kelsey Warkentin and Haley Peterson.
It’ll be a busy early-season schedule for these Demons, who play The Bridges in Montrose on Tuesday and then head to Adobe Creek in Fruita next Monday before spending the following day at Lincoln Park in Palisade.
“We’ll be competing a lot early,” Whiting said. “It’ll be good just to get the grass under their feet.”
RIFLE ” Deanna Forney loves the game of golf. So much so that when illness sidelined Rifle coach Duke Earl for a second straight girls golf season, she happily stepped up to coach the Bears.
“I’ve taught courses at [Colorado Mountain College] in the past and I’ve been highly involved in the golf community, so I filled out the application and did all the steps,” she said.
So far, coaching is her thing.
“I love it,” she said. “I told my husband I think I’m born to do this. I love it.”
And Forney’s inherited a small but talent-loaded six-golfer team. That group includes her daughter, Loren, who last year finished fifth at the Class 4A state tournament.
The elder Forney is also inheriting a team that’s won back-to-back Western Slope Regional titles. Seniors Kori Kosht, a state qualifier last season, and Amanda Quick join Forney as the only other holdovers from last year’s squad.
Joining the fray this year are Argentinian exchange student Merecedes Balodo, a junior, senior Gale Lyons and freshman Kieryn Hammond.
Hammond has caught Coach Forney’s eye in early practice.
“She’s showing great potential,” Forney lauded. “She has a great natural swing and she’s making solid contact with the ball.”
Like Glenwood, Rifle will be at Cobble Creek today and at Bridges tomorrow.
That’ll be a nice shift from practicing at a private facility as the Bears have done in recent weeks.
“We’ve just been working a lot on our short game and on fundamentals,” Forney said. “I know my girls are real excited. We’ll see where we are at after this week.”
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