Steinbach, Carter earn third state golf berth
GRAND JUNCTION — The third time is definitely a charm for a pair of Garfield County girls golfers.
Rifle High School’s Alyx Carter and Coal Ridge High School’s Melissa Steinbach on Tuesday each qualified for the Class 4A State Championships for the third time, making the Top-10 cut individually during the Class 4A Western Slope Regional tournament at Adobe Creek National Golf Course.
Carter finished with an 85 on the par-72 course, moving her into fifth place individually. She was just one stroke away from fourth-place finisher Natalie Lyon of Durango, who finished with an 84.
“I didn’t let the front nine bother me,” said Carter, a Rifle senior who shot a 39 on the back nine to close out the round. “It’s been a really good year with a lot of fun coaches and teammates, not just this year, but all four years. They’re all the best.”
Winning the individual title was Kiselya Plewe of Dolores, who finished with an even-par 72 to net a six-stroke victory. Jordan Cherry and Chelsea Peterson of Montrose finished in a tie for second with a 78.
Cherry and Peterson’s performance helped the Indians win the team championship with a score of 246. Durango (262), Eagle Valley (279) and Rifle (282) followed.
The 4A State Championships will take place at the Country Club of Colorado on May 19 and 20 in Colorado Springs.
Earning a spot as an alternate was Rifle’s Emily Neuroth, whose final score of 91 was just short of the cutoff, which came at 89.
Steinbach, who like Carter will make her third appearance in the state tournament, also finished in a tie. She came in just two strokes behind Carter with an 87 for sixth place, which was even with Taylor Sandoval of Eagle Valley.
Steinbach also recovered from a sketchy front nine, shooting a strong back nine to earn her third state tournament berth in as many tries. Coach Joe Bledsoe said he and Steinbach initially thought she missed the state cut when she came into the clubhouse, but the Coal Ridge junior’s mood changed dramatically when she found out differently.
“She battled throughout the day, and that’s been her story all three years that she’s played,” Bledsoe said. “We all couldn’t be more proud of her.
“Watching her today, she is so much better than she was when she was a freshman,” the coach continued. “Seeing her come off the tee now compared to when she was a freshman, it’s magnificent.
Glenwood Springs finished ninth in the team standings with a 305, just one stroke behind eighth-place Gunnison. Kylie Fleming was the Demons’ top finisher — carding a 99 — with Melissa Thrun (102), Audrey Jones (104) and Emilie Page (135) following.
Leah Kanakaraj of Coal Ridge finished right behind Fleming in the individual standings with a 100. Aly Hay (128) and Jessica Wagenman (131) helped Coal Ridge finish 10th in the team standings with a 315.
Grand Valley finished 12th in the 14-team tournament with a 372. Misty Bowen’s 115 was the Cardinals’ best score. Raychel Page had a 106 and Toni Booth had a 131 for Rifle.
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The 50th Carbondale Mountain Fair last weekend included the 42nd running of the Mt. Sopris Runoff 14-miler and its companion 4-Mile Fair Run foot races after a one-year hiatus due to the pandemic.