Moffat County golf teeing up for state finals; rodeo sees strong results in relocated event; runners rock Rangely, prep for home meets
In the past week, Moffat County athletes have been sitting pretty in every sport possible.
Driving for state
For two of the five Moffat County High School golfers who headed to the 3A Region 4 Tournament this week, the goal was to return to the level of the state championships, while the rest were hoping to make it for the first time.
However, only one of the Bulldogs will be progressing further in the schedule after a very mixed bag Tuesday.
MCHS junior Dave Andujo qualified for state after one of his best rounds of the fall at regionals, held at Carbondale’s River Valley Ranch.
Andujo shot an 80 for the day, placing eighth of 63 golfers.
MCHS coach Tim Adams noted that Andujo notched an 81 Monday during the practice round where players got the opportunity to get a sense of the course.
Though he recorded bogeys on each of the first two holes, Andujo evened out as he continued on, wrapping the front nine with a 42. The back nine went better still, as he parred five holes and ended the day with a birdie on Hole 18.
“It was a course that really played to his strengths — pretty wide fairways, the greens were not super fast,” Adams said. “The last two days, his short game has been really good.”
Adams added that a 30-foot putt on River Valley Ranch’s 13th green to save par after a less-than-ideal approach epitomized Andujo’s mental status.
“It was kind of at that point where he’d probably start getting tired, and the round could have gone the other way,” he said.
Andujo’s total was far lower compared to his sophomore year at regionals, where he shot 91, as did Tanner Etzler, then a junior, a total that sent them both to state at the Air Force Academy.
Now a senior, Etzler had his sights set on attending state again, which Adams said looked likely after the practice round, where he shot 85.
“You shoot well in the practice round, but then the next day it’s for real, so you have some extra nerves you didn’t have,” Adams said.
Etzler’s performance on the front wasn’t much different than that of his teammate, closing the first half at 43, complete with three pars in a row.
Still, other factors affected his play, Adams said, noting that multiple weather delays including lightning threw off Etzler’s rhythm.
Though he shot no higher than a 6 on any hole, the number of bogeys added up on the back nine with a 45 for a sum of 88 and a tie for 26th. Albeit an improvement from last season, the score was just over the line of state qualifiers, with a four-way tie at 86 for 19th denying the rest of the pack from state.
“It was really bunched up in the scores,” Adams said. “Every year the score is different, and last year was kind of an anomaly since a lot of higher scores got into state that wouldn’t normally.”
It was tougher going for the rest of the Moffat County team, who tied for sixth overall among 16 schools.
Junior Ryan Peck tied for 37th with a score of 94, a result Adams said was about on the level he’s been playing.
“He played really well at the practice round, but he was pretty happy with how he shot today,” Adams said.
While freshman Hudson Jones was in check as an alternate, senior Tyler Burkett was just happy to be able to compete for the day after missing regionals last year. However, his hopes of attending state fell apart quickly.
“He had a rough day, but he got off to a pretty good start,” Adams said. “There was a hole he got a 9 on, and from that point on he struggled.”
Burkett began on the back nine, where he shot a 49, before winding down with a 52 on the front as things got trickier as he placed No. 50 at 101.
With the regional event bringing in teams from as far away as Limon, nearby schools had the advantage as Aspen’s Nic Pevny won the day with a 73, with the Skiers earning the team win at 236, followed closely by Vail Mountain, Vail Christian and host Basalt.
Andujo will continue on with the state finals Oct. 5 and 6 at Dos Rios Golf Club.
Besides having teed up at the links in Gunnison before — compared to playing sight-unseen at state last year — Adams said Andujo will be helped along by certain elements of Dos Rios.
“I would compare it as being a little bit more like our course. It’s flat, there’s not a lot of elevation changes on it. I mean, there’s a lot of water on it, but I think he’ll do well,” he said. “We just need to regroup and recoup, but we’ve got tons of time.”
Saddle up strong
It was less than a month ago that Moffat County rodeo competitors were at it among their home spectators, and as fate would have it, another round of riding and roping took place in Craig over the past weekend.
The third week of the Colorado State High School Rodeo Association season was originally scheduled to take place in Eagle. However, during the scheduling process the organization was forced to find a new locale with the Eagle County Fairgrounds tied up in August as the base camp for firefighters battling area blazes.
As a result, Rocky Mountain Shooters hosted the CSHSRA event in Craig.
The opening day of the high school run went well enough for local athletes, with Katie Jo Knez placing fourth in goat tying and Kaden Cox doing the same in the rifle shoot, while Pepper Rhyne picked up points in team roping, tying for 10th along with partner Conner Cannon of Delta.
Cox repeated in fourth place for the rifle the following day to move to third place overall in the state standings, while Knez ranked third in goats for Day 2 to slide into fourth in the state for the event.
Though his most recent efforts in the bull riding didn’t work out, Clay Durham remains in the upper echelon of the rankings, now fourth overall.
The junior high results were stellar for MoCo kids, with Cutter Barnes winning the opening day’s tie down and Logan Durham doing the same with bulls.
Jolene Rhyne likewise won in girls goats, as well as placing second in both ribbon roping and pole bending and third in barrel racing, all within one day.
Though she’s spread her skills among multiple events, Rhyne said she knows which one she truly prefers.
“Goats is my favorite. I like the dismount part,” she said. “There’s so much that goes into it. It’s just fun.”
She noted that she’s practiced the discipline a great deal with Katie Jo Knez who took a middle school state title in the event in 2019.
The first day of the rodeo also saw Barnes third in both chute dogging and ribbon roping, Myka Grajeda fifth in poles, while Barnes took fourth and Chance Knez 10th in boys goats.
The second day went much the same for Rhyne and Durham as she claimed another win in goats and he was victor with bulls to remain firmly in the lead statewide.
In Day 2 barrels, Rhyne and Grajeda were fifth and sixth, respectively; Barnes and Knez fifth and sixth in boys goats; and Barnes fourth in chute dogging.
Knez is currently ranked second in the state for boys breakaway, with Barnes third in both chute and tie down.
Duo events went especially well for the second day with Barnes picking up silver honors in team roping and third in ribbon roping, partnered with Kremmling’s Stran Lechman in the former and Peyton’s Jaycee Yonkers in the latter.
Rhyne also earned a victory in ribbon roping with partner Nathan Lammers of Elbert, the two of them currently tied with another pair for the lead in total points.
“It’s nice we can have a system worked out so it can be kind of the same every time,” she said.
She added that she enjoys the aspect of partnering with someone from a different part of Colorado, which many of CSHSRA contestants do.
“You meet a lot of new people that way,” she said.
Rhyne, who started eighth grade at Craig Middle School this fall, said she and her brother attended a handful of jackpot rodeo events over the summer, though she’s relished getting back on the CSHSRA circuit. The past weekend put her at second place in the all-around points count for junior high girls — Barnes is third for boys — while she is situated at third in barrels and fourth in poles.
CSHSRA’s fall season concludes this weekend at Latigo Trails Equestrian Center in Elbert before adjourning until spring.
Besides events within the Centennial State, Craig athletes also are on the rise elsewhere with Donnie Quick and Amber Salazar boasting strong showings in the Wyoming High School Rodeo Association.
Besides rodeos in Douglas and Riverton earlier this month, the two had highlights the past weekend in Jackson. Salazar got on the scoreboard in breakaway roping during the first round Saturday while the team roping of Day 2 saw Quick pick up sixth with partner Garrett Titmus of Thermopolis.
Quick’s real strength, however, has been in steer wrestling, placing sixth Saturday and earning his first win of the fall Sunday as the only athlete to record a time, a points boost that puts him at second in the state rankings.
Wyoming’s schedule will carry on this weekend in Wheatland with the fall wrap-up the following weekend in Rock Springs.
Going the distance
MCHS cross country’s latest meet wasn’t much of a travel task, but the next two weekends will be even less of a drive for Bulldogs.
The blue and white harriers made their way around the greens of Cedar Ridges Golf Course in Rangely Friday and Saturday, with the varsity boys team winning the whole shebang Friday.
Led by Hayden’s Keaton Knez at 19:04 in third place among the field of 47, the Dogs’ 31 points — based on top four runners rather than the usual five — stayed nice and low in part due to three runners in the top 10, with Carter Behrman in sixth and Logan Hafey in 10th. Owen Gifford and Kale Johnson weren’t far behind in 12th and 15th, respectively, and Boden Reidhead 18th and Andrew Kleckler 29th.
While Coal Ridge’s Tyler Parker gained the individual win, none of his teammates finished in the top 10 with a 2:19 split among the Titans’ fastest five compared to the Dogs’ 1:39.
MoCo girls faced tougher competition with regional rival Basalt owning the team totals, led by defending 3A state champ Sierra Bower. However, the Lady Dogs crossed the finish line far closer together with a 2:59 split versus the Longhorns’ 5:44.
Halle Hamilton and Kelsey McDiffett were a heartbeat apart at the end of the race, ranking fifth and sixth with Hamilton timed at 21:48 to McDiffett’s 21:49. Emma Jones finished eighth and Bree Meats 12th for the smaller team total, while Alayna Behrman took 17th and Tiana Nichols 28th.
Saturday’s junior varsity races saw a smaller turnout yet solid results with Mary Willems, Joslyn Bacon, Brook Wheeler and Megan Neton placing seventh through 10th to place second for girls, with new runners Evi Dietrich and Yara Jiminez-Arellano Alonsa in 14th and 15th.
Placing third of the four teams, boys JV was led by Ian Trevenen in eighth, Kadin Hume hitting 10th and Chase Serio 13th. The group was joined by newbie Javier Fabregas Carbonell in 17th.
The rolling hills of Cedar Ridges will be a bit of a change in coming weeks for the Bulldogs, with back-to-back home events. The MCHS Invite takes place this weekend at Loudy-Simpson Park with JV races starting at 5:30 p.m. Friday and varsity suiting up at 9 a.m. Saturday.
Following that will be a test of new terrain with Oct. 2’s Whistle Pig Invite at Yampa Valley Golf Course, the final race before the 3A Region 1 Meet Oct. 9 in Durango.
Moffat County High School cross country results at Rangely Cedar Ridges Meet
Runner Time; Place
- Halle Hamilton 21:48; 5
- Kelsey McDiffett 21:49; 6
- Emma Jones 22:31; 8
- Bree Meats 24:08; 12
- Alayna Behrman 24:47; 17
- Tiana Nichols 25:59; 28
- Keaton Knez 19:04; 3
- Carter Behrman 19:52; 6
- Logan Hafey 20:17; 10
- Owen Gifford 20:23; 12
- Kale Johnson 20:43; 15
- Boden Reidhead 20:50; 18
- Andrew Kleckler 21:36; 29
- Mary Willems 26:07; 7
- Joslyn Bacon 26:55; 8
- Brook Wheeler 27:17; 9
- Megan Neton 27:44; 10
- Evi Dietrich 31:56; 14
- Yara Jiminez-Arellano Alonsa 31:59; 15
- Ian Trevenen 22:04; 8
- Kadin Hume 22:18; 10
- Chase Serio 23:40; 13
- Javier Fabregas Carbonell 26:30; 17
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