The Aspen High School girls golf season teed off last Monday, with the Skiers finishing sixth as a team at the annual Chipeta Kick Off Classic. The tournament was hosted by Palisade High School at Chipeta Golf Course in Grand Junction.
Aspen looks like it will be led this spring by standout freshman Lenna Persson, who shot 75 on Chipeta’s executive course to finish tied for second with Durango junior Zayda Mestas. Fruita Monument junior Cierra Noetzelmann won the tournament with 70, finishing 11 over par.
Persson, who also is a standout moguls skier, has second-year AHS head coach Shannon Worth excited about the program’s future.
“It was her first high school tournament, but she is definitely our most seasoned player,” Worth said. “She has played a lot of tournament golf with junior golf. She understands the game. She is a really hard worker. She is really smart.”
Another freshman, Audrey Woodrow, shot 87 to finish 17th at Chipeta, second among the Skiers. Also competing were freshman Colby Vanderaa, junior Jade Hanson and freshman Madison Nelson. Senior Maya Shindel, the sixth varsity member, was out of town and did not compete in the first tournament, but is expected back after spring break.
“We have a little bit of depth. A little bit more depth than usual,” said Worth, who also spent two seasons as the team’s assistant coach under Martha Richards. “Who knows what we can do this year? We are going to do our best and we are super excited to get out there and see what we can do. But again, the future is really exciting.”
A key part of that future will be sophomore Brooke O’Sullivan, who shined as a freshman last spring and finished 10th at the Class 3A state tournament in Pueblo. Unfortunately, O’Sullivan recently had surgery to repair her ACL and will have to sit out her sophomore campaign.
“She will still be a part of the team and we love her so much. She is young, so we still have a bright future, just like we knew we did,” Worth said of O’Sullivan and the young AHS squad. “The whole team just has such a positive outlook this year and wants to learn and wants to be better and that’s what we are focused on.”
Aspen will not compete again until after spring break. The Skiers are tentatively scheduled to next head to Fruita on April 11. Their home tournament is scheduled for May 9, two weeks before regional play in Alamosa. State golf is scheduled for May 31 and June 1 at The Broadlands in Broomfield.
Local caddies earn Chick Evans scholarships
Aspen High School senior Zach Small was one of three local athletes to have recently been awarded the prestigious Chick Evans caddie scholarship through the Western Golf Association. Basalt High School seniors Sam Sherry and Kyle Murray were the other two; only 11 Evans scholarships were handed out across the entire state this year.
The program, done locally through the Roaring Fork Club, requires hundreds of hours of caddying over the summer months, among other requirements. The reward is a full-ride, four-year scholarship valued at more than $120,000. Most in-state recipients end up attending the University of Colorado in Boulder, which is connected to the program.
“I know Kyle, me and Sam all worked really, really hard,” said Small, who wants to study aerospace engineering. “Basically, one of the requirements is you work over 100 rounds there, so four hours a round, that’s 400 hours of work. We spent our summers there. We worked really hard there. For the ability to go to a school and leave without debt, it’s an amazing opportunity and it’s an amazing program.”
The local trio follow in the footsteps of many area caddies to also have earned the prestigious Chick Evans scholarship in recent years. Last year it went to Aspen’s Jake Doyle and Basalt’s Tyler Sims.