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By Aurelia Pollard
Editorial@lhvc.com 

Niwot girls golf sends two to state

 


The Niwot High School girls golf team is gearing up for its state meet, which takes place on Monday, May 23 and Tuesday, May 24 in Pueblo. The Cougars are sending two girls to play along with one one alternate, out of their total of nine players.

Head Coach Dylan Hollingsworth is nearing the end of his first year coaching the team and is optimistic as to how the season has gone, although he had higher hopes for regionals.

“It’s been going well,” Hollingsworth said of the season. “We got the third at regionals, and it was disappointing because we lost by two strokes. We could have played better.”

At regionals earlier this month, one of the best players on the team, Claire McPeak, finished in sixth place with 19 over par. Keena Strope was right behind McPeak with a score of 20 over par.

Both girls will be advancing on to state, along with alternate Rosie Setter who shot 26 over par. Hollingsworth said they won’t know if Setter will be playing until the weekend before the state meet, but he’s hoping she will.

As for how the girls are feeling going into the big tournament, Hollingsworth said they’re ready, although McPeak is hoping to perform better than she did at regionals.

“I think they feel good,” Hollingsworth said of the girls going to state. “Claire [McPeak] did not play well at regionals so I think she feels like she has a little something to prove. Keena [Strope] has been playing her best golf the last couple weeks, so we feel good about where she’s at right now.”

Between regionals and the state tournament the girls have been working on their short game mostly. Hollingsworth has been helping them prepare in any way he can, although they’ve been working with their swing coaches more.

“The short game, chipping and putting,” Hollingsworth said of what the girls have been working on. “But really both the girls have been spending time working with their swing coaches, more than anything, to prepare for [state].”

When asked what the other six girls on the team who are not going to state have been doing, Hollingsworth said they have been working with Assistant Coach Isaac Peña, who has been involving them however he can.

“The other girls, some of them have been coming out to practice if they can,” Hollingsworth explained. “Coach Pena, the assistant coach, has been doing a great job at keeping the other girls involved and doing everything there. I’m really happy with what he’s done and what he’s thinking of doing.”

McPeak, Strope and Setter, if she plays, will be facing off against 85 other girls from five different regions around Colorado. Hollingsworth knows the competition will be tough and he’s hoping they’ll just play their best.

“I just hope the girls play well,” he said. “There’s some really good talent out there. I think we’re looking for the girls to play well. A top-10 finish for Claire is definitely something she should be shooting for. Keena, if she comes in and plays like she did in the last tournament, at regionals she was in third place just with five holes to play. If she can continue building on that, then that would be fantastic.”

McPeak has attended state before, but this will be Strope’s first time, and Hollingsworth said if she can make it into the top 20 it would be a great achievement for her. He said it’s hard to gauge how the girls doing at times though because it’s so different from when he coaches football.

“If Keena can find a way to slip into the top 20 that would be a great finish for her, and just finishing the year off right…,” Hollingsworth said. “With girls golf it’s different [from when I coach football]. It’s how are you playing on any given day. It’s really not coaching, it’s them.”

“How they are handling the conditions, how they are striking the ball, and managing not only the course but themselves,” Hollingsworth explained of what they will focus on with the girls. “I think that’s extremely important, and I think that’s going to be a huge thing for Coach Peña and myself.”

“It’s different than anything else…,” Hollingsworth said about golf. “I think really it’s mental as much as anything. I hope they’re ready to play. I hope they’re mentally prepared for what’s going on.”

 

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