Moffat County golfers extend season with 2 state qualifications
For the Craig Press
It’s been a numbers game for the Moffat County High School girls golf team this season, and though there have been few of the Bulldogs on the links this spring, the ones who were able to finish out the schedule had a positive result this week.
MCHS wrapped up the year Thursday with the 3A Region 4 Tournament at Cattails Golf Club in Monte Vista with two state qualifications.
The Bulldogs were represented by Reagan Hafey and Taylor Powell, who shot a 98 and a 118 respectively.
While Vail Mountain won as a group and individually, with Ava Cavataio’s 75 leading the day, Hafey tied for sixth in a field of 29 with Vail’s Ava Crowley. Powell finished 19th to claim the state berth that went to the top two teams of four — in this case, Vail Mountain and host Alamosa — and 13 individuals.
This year’s 3A State Championships takes place June 20 to 22 at Pueblo’s Elmwood Golf Course.
Hafey and Powell are the first two members of the Bulldog girls golf program to make it to state since Katelyn Peroulis in 2014, though Caitlen Krause nearly went to the championships after attaining alternate status in 2019.
The conditions at the southern Colorado course were warm and windy with the Cattails layout plentiful with water near the Rio Grande. While MoCo players got a sense of their surroundings Wednesday with the customary practice round, it came with its own setback.
“Yesterday it was really hot with no breeze,” coach Tim Adams said Thursday. “The wind wasn’t so bad that it really affected how they played, so at least it wasn’t as hot. It was very flat, not hilly at all, a reasonable course to walk, somewhat similar to what they’re used to at home.”
Hafey was part of the first flight to head out on the back nine, keeping an easygoing approach in mind.
“I’ve kind of gotten to a point where I’m not too worried about how I shoot, more focused about the fundamentals of the game and consistency,” she said.
Hafey broke even on the fourth hole — part of a 48 on the front nine — and though her day was mostly bogeys, she shot no higher than a 7, with only one triple-bogey.
“I was hitting really well with my irons, and my short game like chipping was really good,” she said. “Before warmups, coach Adams told us that the only shot that matters is the next one, and so going out there, that was kind of the mindset I had. It helped me stay focused, helped me not dwell on any bad shots I had.”
Powell teed off 10 minutes after her teammate, paired with Monte Vista’s Annika Holder and Meeker’s Wagner Brown. With a shaky start on the back nine, Powell recorded a couple 9’s while still avoiding double digits on any hole in a 65 on the back.
“I was working on staying happy and keeping my motivation,” Powell said.
The latter half of her day went far better as she finished with a 53 on the front nine.
“Taylor struggled, but she did really well on that front nine and made up for that,” Adams said.
Powell said that putting was a big part of her day.
“Those greens were really fast there,” she said.
With just the two athletes, MCHS did not record a full team score. Junior Madason Laman was unable to compete, while Mia Cheuvront traveled with the team to the tourney but only played in the practice round.
Adams noted Cheuvront’s strides in the sport as a novice.
“I wanted to give her that experience and I didn’t think she was quite ready for regionals, but she’s improved tremendously since day one,” he said.
Each of the Bulldogs were in their first year playing for Moffat County.
For Powell, it was simply because she’s a freshman. As such, she’s still getting used to sports at the high school level, and part of what she’s anticipating at state is the newness of everything.
“I’m looking forward to meeting new people and playing on a new course,” she said. “I’ve tried some other sports before, but I think golf will be my main one.”
For freshman Cheuvront and sophomore Hafey, their first year as a Bulldog came after relocating.
Cheuvront’s father, Jeremy, took on the role of MCHS’s athletic director last summer, and after moving to Craig, she joined both the golf and soccer teams this spring.
“That’s been kind of stressful doing both of them,” she said. “For my first time golfing I think I did surprisingly well.”
Cheuvront last competed at Tiara Rado along with Hafey and Powell, though she and Laman teamed up for a scramble round with unofficial results.
“I did the majority of the driving in that one,” she said. “I’m pretty good with long and short, and there’s some areas to improve on both, but I can do them. My long game has gotten a lot better.”
Hafey just moved back to Northwest Colorado from North Dakota last fall.
“North Dakota is really flat, and there’s no trees there either. It’s just plain prairie,” Hafey said. “It’s not very pretty, and the wind there is a lot worse than in Craig. The winters there are pretty awful, like negative 50 degrees. It’s kind of nice not to have that anymore.”
With the Season D schedule starting in late April and pushing into June, Adams said there were benefits to the change.
“One thing that helped us this year, because we had three girls that hadn’t played much golf, it helped that we were able to actually get on the course, not have to practice in the gym. That definitely helped our progress,” he said.
Because of the season that went later than usual, Hafey was also playing an additional sport, joining multiple softball teams on the Front Range.
Between school ending and the regional golf event, she was at a softball tourney in Oklahoma and had to meet the rest of the group in Monte Vista after driving from the Sooner State.
Though MCHS does not have a CHSAA-sanctioned softball Hafey also hopes to compete with the Meeker team this fall. She’s already looking forward to next season when she will be able to focus on two different types of mechanics at separate times.
“You kind of have to learn to differentiate the kinds of swings,” she said of softball versus golf. “It’s definitely harder to try and mix the seasons like this.”
By virtue of her surname, Hafey is already part of a sports legacy at Moffat County, with uncle Kip a current coach and former athlete and cousins Ethan, Logan and Ian now multi-sport athletes at the school.
Even with family in town, relocating was tough but hardly impossible, she said.
“It was a tough change at first, but once school got back in session full-time it was really easy to get out and meet new people. Going out for golf really helped. It was an awesome experience, and I plan to do it the rest of my high school career,” she said. “Tim has been really great with all of us. He’s made the season really fun for us.”
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