Nate Waggenspack: Hard work pays off for the Moffat County boys golf team

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Nate Waggenspack

In case you hadn’t heard, the Moffat County boys golf team had a pretty good week.

After playing six tournaments and failing to show much improvement when the strokes counted, the Bulldogs broke through on their home course with a 258 team score. Then on Thursday they played even better in Steamboat Springs, shooting 251.

What was especially great about that 251 was only three players’ scores are added up each time to create a team score. In Steamboat, the Bulldogs’ third and fourth golfers (Taft Cleverly and Tyler Jenkins) posted the same score, so it was an even fuller team effort.

Here’s the thing: 251 isn’t going to win Moffat County any tournaments and it’s not going to get the team among the best at state. But that’s still 19 strokes better than they had shot a week before, and that’s something special worth celebrating.

In speaking with coach Casey Kilpatrick and the players before the season and during its first half, there was always optimism about the way they would play. Last year, Moffat County really didn’t have any experienced golfers and struggled. This year, they said, it would be different.

And while the 270s the team was putting up over its first six tournaments were an improvement from a season ago, when they found themselves closer to 300 for most of the year, it still didn’t feel like they were reaching their full potential.

We just need to work on our short game, they told me, and then a week later after another 270, it was time to hit the ball more consistently. Still, the 270s kept coming. As a reporter, I wondered if they would be able to bring it all together by season’s end. I imagine similar thoughts had to be swirling around in the backs of their minds, at the very least.

When your performance has created a barrier of sorts, it can be easy to get complacent and just keep playing that kind of golf (or run at that speed, or block that hard). But this group was able to keep themselves motivated and trash their barrier. Not by a couple strokes, but by 12 — and then seven more a day later.

It can take awhile for results to come from the work we put into things. These guys stayed the course, waited on the results to come while working the entire time, and got what they deserved. Kudos.

No member of the varsity team needs to shoot especially well in order to stay there. Moffat County has a small team and a lot of members new to the game of golf. They could have kept shooting 270 as a team, and low 90s as individuals, and finished their season in much the same way it will finish anyway, because they are unlikely to qualify for state without dropping even more strokes.

But the Bulldogs took pride in what they were doing, and chose to do it better. Moffat County has two tournaments left (three if it makes state) in its season, but I’ve already seen what those guys are made of, and it’s pretty good stuff.

Nate Waggenspack can be reached at 970-875-1795 or nwaggenspack@craigdailypress.com.

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