Chris Jones, a junior at Moffat County High School, hits from the driving range at Yampa Valley Golf Course during practice this summer. Jones is an upperclassman on a young golf team this season, one which coach Casey Kilpatrick says he is excited to work with.

Photo by Nate Waggenspack

Chris Jones, a junior at Moffat County High School, hits from the driving range at Yampa Valley Golf Course during practice this summer. Jones is an upperclassman on a young golf team this season, one which coach Casey Kilpatrick says he is excited to work with.

Rebuilding their swing

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MCHS boys gold coach Casey Kilpatrick

Team at a Glance:

Moffat County High School boys golf

Coach: Casey Kilpatrick

Returning seniors: Jake Bingham and Kyler Willbanks

2011: No state qualifiers

Quotable

“I want more to have more competition within the team in order to build that competitive spirit and that love for the game.”

—Casey Kilpatrick, MCHS boys golf coach, about his approach to the coaching the team during his first year.

Replacing a large group of seniors is a tall task for a high school team in any sport, but the Moffat County High School boys golf team is replacing its coach as well.

Ken Harjes called it quits last year after 31 years at the helm of the Bulldogs varsity golf team. Replacing him this year is his former assistant Casey Kilpatrick, also a teacher at MCHS.

Kilpatrick mostly worked with the underclassmen and inexperienced golfers on the team in the past, but will take over and deal with everyone in 2012.

In addition to replacing Harjes, the Bulldogs lost four seniors from last year’s team, including Parker King, who accepted a scholarship to play for the University of Northern Colorado golf team last year.

“We lost a very talented senior group last year,” Kilpatrick said. “We had some really great golfers. Right now we have a very young team.”

Losing most of its varsity doesn’t mean MCHS will be without experienced golfers, though.

Seniors Jake Bingham and Kyler Willbanks have been playing golf for years, and junior Colten Yoast and sophomore Casey Nations played on the team last year, mostly under Kilpatrick’s guidance. The players are excited about getting a chance to show their skills.

“Making varsity is what I’m hoping to do,” Bingham said. “Making varsity for sure. You get to go on the overnight trips.”

After struggling at the regional tournament last year, no Bulldog made it to the state golf tournament. With the loss of its top players, it could be a rebuilding year for the Bulldogs.

Regardless of the immediate success the team may or may not enjoy, Kilpatrick is ready to build up his players and start breeding a total team attitude.

“I want to incorporate a complete team picture,” Kilpatrick said. “In golf because we have a varsity and junior varsity, sometimes there’s not a lot of team unity. I really want to work on that and make sure everybody feels like they area part of the team.

“I want more to have more competition within the team in order to build that competitive spirit and that love for the game. I’m a firm believer if the students don’t have anything to work toward, they’re not going to be nearly as effective.”

Returning members of the team are just excited to start playing golf. They aren’t worried about major changes to the team, because they have played under Kilpatrick before.

“I think (the team) is going to be run pretty much the same,” Yoast said. “I’m looking forward to improving my golf game.”

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