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Preps swing into action

Post Independent Photo/Kelley Cox Soda Pop Open 2004
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Everything happens fast in boys high school golf in Colorado. For many coaches, it happens too fast.Monday was the first allowable day high school teams could practice. Three days later, starting with this afternoon’s Grand Valley Invitational at Battlement Mesa Golf Course, area coaches are selecting their top five players for the first tournament of the 2004 season.”It’s a shame we have to judge that quickly,” Rifle head coach Tim Carlin said of choosing his starting team. “The season is compacted into a month and a half, and it’s easy for any of the golfers to have a have a bad day or two.”Team selection is easier for smaller schools like Roaring Fork and Grand Valley that don’t have as many players from which to choose. For bigger schools like Glenwood Springs and Rifle, the Grand Valley Invite becomes part of the selection process.

After today’s 22-team event, the remainder of the season zips by.More than a third of the campaign is finished before Labor Day. The entire season, including the state-qualifying Class 4A regional tournament, will be over by the end of September.The two-day, 36-hole 4A state tournament takes place at the Country Club of Colorado in Colorado Springs on Oct. 5-6.And there’s plenty of optimism among the four area coaches that one or more of their golfers will advance to the 2004 season finale.

“If we have a good round a regionals (Sept. 22 at Battlement Mesa) we have a good shot at earning a team berth to state,” said Roaring Fork High coach Robert Fishman.Four of the coach’s top five players are seniors. Two of them – Sean McMechan and Adam Joiner – proved themselves as 4A state berth contenders by finishing one-two at the recent Soda Pop Open at the Glenwood Springs Golf Club.Filling out the balance of the Rams’ roster are seniors Jesse Calabero and Alex Tiernan, along with sophomore Hayden Winkler.Glenwood, under first-year coach Bryan Whiting, had 17 golfers report to the first day of practice. Whiting and assistant coach Dennis Brown are looking at the results from today’s 18-hole tournament to help pare down the Demons’ roster.The 2004 team includes eight returning lettermen, led by seniors Sean Flohr and Connor Frey. Additional returners are Flohr’s younger brother, Michael, Matt MacAdow, Joey Williams and Cory Brown – all juniors – plus sophomores Cody Nelson and Cody Wright.



Grand Valley’s top player is sophomore Sam McKinley, a returning varsity letterman. He will be flanked by junior Trevor Bell, sophomore Luke Braby and freshman Tyler Jensen.Carlin, who played golf at West Chester (Pa.) University, inherited the Rifle post when last year’s head coach, Doug Bair, moved to Ohio.”We have a really good, talented team,” said Carlin of his all-underclassmen, eight-member varsity.Four sophomores – Matt Hubbell, Brandon Forney, Mike Sours and Steven Anderson – with freshman Shawn Cruse will represent the Bears at today’s tournament. Challenging the opening-day quintet for starting spots are sophomore Jon Owens, the younger brother of 2004 graduate Jim Owens, a two-time state qualifier, and brothers Eric and Kyle Copen.After tomorrow’s event, the Western Slope golf tour continues with stops at Rifle Creek Golf Course Friday and back-to-back tournaments in Grand Junction Aug. 16-17.After tomorrow’s event, the Western Slope golf tour continues with stops at Rifle Creek Golf Course Friday and back-to-back tournaments in Grand Junction Aug. 16-17.


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