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Prep golf features new faces, team

The area high school golf landscape will look a little different this year with new coaches, a new team and, obviously, new players.

That landscape will begin to take shape Monday as high school golf is allowed to begin practices. The first tournament for local teams is the Grand Junction High tourney at Bookcliff Country Club on Aug. 12.

“I’ll be happy to get it going,” said Steve LeDonne, who was hired as the new coach for the Rifle Bears this summer. “It seems like it’s been a long time coming.”

Rifle enters the season as the local favorites after advancing to the 4A State Tournament last year. Rifle lost third-place State finisher Luke Antonelli to graduation, but returns seniors Jerrad Brown, Cole Manupella and Jimmy Owens. Rifle’s first meeting and practice is Monday and players will compete for roster spots Wednesday through Friday.

Last year Basalt and Roaring Fork High Schools had a combined team and an abundance of players. This year each school will field its own squad.

“In years past Roaring Fork and Basalt never had enough players to field their own teams,” new Roaring Fork coach Barry Maggert said. “Last year a bunch of kids from both schools came out. There’s no reason to combine the teams anymore.”

The combined team was, on paper, the Basalt squad. That being the case, Roaring Fork, in its first year with a golf program, won’t get any school funding this season.

“We’re starting it from scratch,” Maggert said.

Roaring Fork will have rounds Tuesday through Thursday at River Valley Ranch to seed the team. For information, call Maggert at 963-1396.

Doug Rohrbaugh, who coached the combined team last year, will stay on as the Basalt head coach. But, with the splitting of the team, he doesn’t know what to expect as far as players.

“This year will be a little tougher,” Rohrbaugh said. “By splitting the teams up, there is less talent to draw from. On the other hand, by splitting up, more kids are going to get a chance to play.”

Glenwood is the only team of the four to maintain its structure and coach from last season. Norm Bolitho will again lead the team this year as head coach and the Glenwood squad returns five varsity players.

“This is a good group because they all spent the summer playing and practicing,” Bolitho said.

The GSHS players, as well as the RFHS players, will participate Monday’s Soda Pop Open at the Glenwood Springs Golf Club.


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