Niwot boys golf preview
August 14, 2016
There won’t be a lot of familiar faces on the Cougars boys golf team this season, but Head Coach Ed Weaver, is taking it all in stride. “We lost six players to graduation… We are clearly in a rebuilding mode,” he mused.
Weaver, entering his second season as Niwot’s coach, will be juggling both youth and inexperience on this year’s squad. Five brand new players will be playing on the team this season, including three freshmen, making Niwot among the youngest teams in the Northern League. Nevertheless, Weaver harbors lofty expectations for the 2016 Cougars, and looks to build on the successes of past years.
The Cougars just missed qualifying for a team slot at the state tournament in 2015, placing third in the regional qualifying tournament behind Silver Creek and Thompson Valley. In 2014, the Cougars were Northern League champions, and finished 11th overall in the state 4A finals.
Weaver would like to return to those winning ways. “I would like to see us finish in the top three in the league, and qualify for the state tournament as a team,” he said. Additionally, he thinks “at least two or three individual qualifiers” is also a reasonable goal.
Leading that effort for the Cougars this year are seniors Jake Butler and Max Kuesel. Butler, who was an individual qualifier and top-50 finisher in the 2015 state tournament, is coming off a busy summer on the junior golf circuit. After placing fifth at the Junior Golf Alliance of Colorado Tournament held at Twin Peaks Golf Course in June, he then placed third in his age division at the Rocky Mountain Junior Golf Tour’s Idaho Challenge. He has also qualified to compete in two national tournaments to be held in December.
Butler and Kuesel will be joined on the team by sophomores Jackson Keener, Jack Hoover, and Andrew Elliott and freshmen Sam Hoover, Luke Martinez, and Jack Kenkel. Assisting Weaver with coaching duties is former Niwot High golfer Ben Scarbrough. The team will hold practices at two local courses, Ute Creek and Fox Hill.
The Cougars kick-off the 2016 season on Thursday, August 11, in a Northern League match at the Olde Course in Loveland. On August 23, the Cougars will host the season’s fourth Northern League event at Twin Peaks. A week later, Niwot will host its annual JV invitational, also at Twin Peaks. The season wraps up with the 4A state tournament on September 26-27, at the River Valley Ranch Golf Course in Carbondale. For a complete schedule of league events and tournaments, visit nhs-cougars.com/sportspages/boys-golf/.