Grand Valley Cardinals’ small team faces tough times
PARACHUTE, Colorado – Scott Carpenter’s tenure as Grand Valley’s boys golf coach didn’t get off to the most auspicious of starts.His top returning player, Kaleb Bell, is out until at least regionals with a broken foot, and only three golfers showed up on the first day of practice.Neither has done much to dampen Carpenter’s spirits, though. He and his players are blazing the recruiting trail, trying to drum up interest. He thinks the Cardinals can coax a few more to join the program, and maybe even before Thursday’s season-opening Grand Valley Invitational at Battlement Mesa Golf Course.”It’s amazing,” he said. “We have our own tournament on Thursday, and I don’t know if we’ll have a team.”Regardless of the numbers situation, the Cardinals will have golfers playing at Battlement. What’s uncertain is whether or not they’ll have enough to contend, or even be counted, in the team standings.Not ideal, but something Carpenter’s willing to work with. He’s taking over the program from former Grand Valley athletic director Jeff Bradley, who is now Grand Junction Central’s AD.Before Bradley moved on, Carpenter had inquired about helping out with the team if an opening ever arose. Then, Bradley’s golf assistant, Scott Kiburis, left to take a teaching and basketball coaching job on the Front Range and, shortly thereafter, Bradley left.Next thing Carpenter knew, the golf program was his. It’s not his first head coaching stint. He was the school’s volleyball coach until two years ago.He’s taking over a team with three returning players – Bell, Brody Hayes and Chris Chartier. Bell was the Cardinals’ top finisher at regionals last year and swings the club with muscle.”I had a chance to see him golf and, I hate to put it this way, but he’s 120 pounds and can hit the ball a ton,” Carpenter said. “I was in awe of how far he could hit it.”Though Bell will miss it, the rest of the Cardinals – and a bunch more from the Western Slope – will be on hand for Thursday’s Grand Valley Invitational, which will get under way with an 8 a.m. shotgun start.
CARBONDALE – Larry Williams isn’t entirely sure what to expect from his Roaring Fork boys golfers this season. That’s because the program lost three players to either graduation or relocation and just two varsity players are returning.And that’s not such a bad thing. He’s just happy to provide his Rams with a little coaching and an opportunity to play some of the area’s top courses. The rest is up to them.”The kids that are really into golf play a lot,” Williams said. “And then we always have a couple of recreational golfers. For a $75 athletic fee, they can play 11 great courses. It’s a good deal for everybody involved.”Back for the Rams in 2008 are sophomore Micah Evonitz and junior Arick Zeigel. Evonitz carded Roaring Fork’s top score at regionals last year and Zeigel’s been putting in quite a bit of course time during the summer. Beyond those two, it’s wait and see for Williams, whose team will pack in just three practices before Thursday’s season-opening tournament at Battlement Mesa.”It’s hard to say until we get out there,” the coach said on Monday. “We’ll have practice tonight, tomorrow and then have a short little practice on Wednesday. Then we get ready for the fast and furious.”
PEACH VALLEY – Joe Elliot’s content with the core of returning players he’ll field as Coal Ridge’s head coach.Back is a solid bunch that includes Craig Spaulding, Casey Lawrence and Brian and Brandon Schlegel. All are juniors except Lawrence, who is a sophomore.”We have a good bunch of juniors who should step it up,” Elliot said.Joining the Titan fray is Andy Smedra, who’s caught Elliot’s eye in the early going. “He just has a lot of athletic ability,” lauded the second-year coach. “He should be a good addition.”Elliot is expecting a team of about 15 or 16 players once the season hits full swing. He noted that new players are still welcome to join the program.If interested, contact AD Rick Schmitz at 625-6700 or Elliot at 625-1906.
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