Moffat County golfers represent well at Bulldog Invite; rodeo keeps riding at Cortez
The shift in climate this week changed plans for some Moffat County athletes, but as always, they continued to weather on regardless.
Looking forward on the links
The burst of wet, chilly weather that struck the Western Slope was no good for many of those outdoors, resulting in the cancellation of Tuesday’s Sailor Invitational at Steamboat Springs.
But, golfers were all the more ready to continue on Wednesday morning amid the cool, breezy conditions at Yampa Valley Golf Course.
Moffat County High School boys golf took fifth as a group at the Bulldog Invite, led by Dave Andujo in third place among the field of 42 players.
Andujo shot an 84 for the day, his first go in more than a week. Though fitting in with his goal to maintain his tournament totals within the low 80s, he still felt he could have ended with a lower score on his home course.
A shaky start with a triple bogey on the Par 5 Hole 1 prompted to settle down and focus. From there, he saw a string of pars and +1’s, wrapping up the front nine on a high note.
“I had a good birdie on (Hole) 9, but then I played terrible on the back nine,” he said.
The pair of 42’s for both halves of the tournament was by no means a failure, though Andujo said he could have shot better to possibly meet or beat the 78 he achieved earlier in the season.
Still, he acknowledged that any golfer’s performance can ultimately depend on the day.
“It’s just tricky,” he said.
Fellow MCHS junior Ryan Peck likewise was frustrated that his scorecard was higher than he would have liked at home. The troubles came later in the day, and despite outshooting Andujo on the front nine with a 41, Peck struggled on the back nine, particularly with a +5 on Hole 12.
The result was 54 on the back for a 95 overall.
“I did so well on the front, but the back, not so much. It’s just all about staying focused,” Peck said, adding that it was a day of great shots combined with less-than-desirable follow-ups.
“It wasn’t even like I did anything really bad. Mentally, I’ve just got to be able to stay with it for 18 because if I can’t do that, I’m never going to get my score where I want it to be.”
MoCo freshman Hudson Jones was right behind Peck’s group, but unlike his older teammates his conclusion to the tourney was stronger than his start, shooting 47 and 50 on the back and front, respectively.
Despite his familiarity with the layout at YVGC, Jones said that potential asset wound up being almost a disadvantage.
“You think you know everything, but then you kind of overplay it,” he said.
The first year of high school sports has seen Jones in and out of the varsity lineup, but he welcomes any opportunity.
“It’s my first year really getting into it, but I love the competition,” he said.
Seniors Tanner Etzler and Tyler Burkett were unable to compete at the tourney, while junior Caden Call notched an 113 and sophomore Isaac Vallem a 116.
Coach Tim Adams had more players in the mix than he did a week earlier at the Bulldogs’ JV event, with Hayden seniors Angel Valdez and Wyatt Murphy 129 and 134 in their first event since joining the team late in the season.
“They had to get the minimum number of practices in, and it’s been kind of an adjustment for them,” Adams said.
Tucker Sterle finished the day at 146, while fellow sophomore Catcher Jackson hit 130.
After playing football last fall, the new sport has been an adjustment for Jackson but a welcome one.
“I’m getting a lot better,” Jackson said. “Today I wasn’t too good with my putter, but I did great with my irons and my driver. It’s been fun, something different.”
Adams was pleased with the results as a whole as less experienced players took on some empty slots, though the combination of no preparation via the Steamboat meet and the dreary weather provided challenges, as did the unexpected variables of a home tourney.
“Parents don’t usually travel to the other tournaments, so there’s that added pressure to play in front of your family,” he said. “You think it’s gonna be easier, but in some ways it’s easier to go on the road because all you’ve got to think about is golf.”
MCHS golfers will be back at it sooner than they thought, squeezing in a match-play event Friday in Meeker, one which will allow the full roster.
The following week will see the Dogs tee off for varsity matches at Aspen and Vail as well as a JV event in Steamboat, the final tournaments before the regional tourney begins Monday, Sept. 21 in Basalt, with state qualifiers moving on to the 3A event at Gunnison’s Dos Rios.
Regional events allow for a team of four players plus one alternate.
“I already kind of know who I’m taking, but we’ll see if there are any surprises in the next week,” Adams said.
Rodeo riding high
Hot, windy weather was nothing new for Northwest Colorado rodeo athletes, except perhaps with more intensity down south in Cortez.
The second week of the Colorado State High School Rodeo Association saw Moffat County kids stay strong and hoping to continue and improve on their home arena success.
Saturday started off the three-day event, with the highlight for MCHS being a shared fourth place in team roping for Craig’s Katie Jo Knez with Parker’s Brooke Bruner.
The pair had rougher runs the following days, but Knez took fourth in the second day of goat tying as well as 10th in Day 3 of breakaway roping.
The second day of the event saw Craig’s Pepper Rhyne burst onto the season scoreboard in a big way in the tie down roping. After struggling to pick up points at the home event, Rhyne clocked in at 12.34 seconds to win the silver honors with second in the Sunday round. He just missed the top 10 the final day with a successful completion but a time less than one second behind the 10th place competitor.
The bull riding rounds were tough for Hamilton’s Clay Durham as well as most of those looking to stay seated for eight seconds or more, and though he picked up no points, Durham remains ranked third in the state.
After the Cortez event, Rhyne stands at 13th overall in the tie down, while Knez moved to sixth after being at the top of listings in goats.
The Moffat County junior high competitors saw their status in the rankings remain high after the weekend in Cortez.
On Day 1, Maybell’s Cactus Barnes and Craig’s Jolene Rhyne finished second and third, respectively in the ribbon roping, while Barnes was second in chute dogging and third in tie down , with Rhyne second in pole bending and fourth in barrel racing. The same day saw Craig’s Chance Knez fourth in boys breakaway.
Sunday brought Rhyne the win in poles and Barnes in the ribbon event with teammate Jaycee Yonkers of Peyton. Rhyne also was again fourth in barrels, while Barnes was third in dogging and tie down, plus fourth in boys goats.
The finale of the middle school Cortez rodeo brought Rhyne a win in ribbon roping — partnered with Elbert’s Nathan Lammers — and third in barrels, eighth in poles, and 10th in girls goats; Knez second in boys breakaway; and Barnes fourth in both goats and dogging.
However, the biggest results were in a whole different event.
Despite going without a score in Craig, Hamilton’s Logan Durham made his mark in week two bull riding with back-to-back wins to be at the apex of the season tally with 20 points well on his way to the possibility of another state title.
Besides being at third in the all-around point count for junior high girls, Jolene Rhyne is also now ranked third in the state in barrel racing and fourth in pole bending, while Chance Knez is currently the runner-up in boys breakaway and Barnes stands at third in both the ribbon roping and tie down listings.
Rodeo competitors will be back at it Sept. 19 and 20 in Eagle before the fall season’s end at Latigo Trails, the last rodeo for the circuit until the spring.
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