Left Hand Valley Courier - All Local, All The Time

By Jocelyn Rowley

Girls Golf: Solem leads resurgent Cougars


April 19, 2017

Of the many strange and wondrous things that have happened so far in 2017, the March weather in Colorado deserves a prominent place in the conversation. For the first time in living memory, the unusually warm, dry conditions meant the local high school sports teams enjoyed an early-spring schedule blessedly free of weather-related cancellations and postponements.

Except for the Niwot girls golf team. It turns out that their rainy opening day at the aptly named Chilly Chili tournament on March 11 was a harbinger of things to come. So far this season, two Northern League events have been rescheduled due to poor conditions, including the Niwot-hosted tournament at Twin Peaks, which was moved from April 4 to Tuesday, May 2.

All of which is to say that the Niwot girls golf season got off to a bit of slow start this year. But with spring break out of the way, and clear weather in the forecast, Head Coach Ed Weaver sees only good things ahead for his team down the stretch.

“I’m finally getting critical mass,” he said of his still-developing team after their strong showing at Northern League Event #5. “I got four players up to Loveland [on Thursday], and we had our best tournament of the year.”

Led junior Mya Ostrom, who shot a season-best 94 and placed 24th overall, the Cougars (+79) finished tenth out of 18 teams at the Loveland Invitational, held April 13 at the Olde Course. Ostrom was joined in the top-25 by freshman teammate Julia Solem, who also shot a 94, her best performance since the Northern League opener back in March. Making her high-school tournament debut, freshman Trinity Pleffner (107) was 54th on the day and junior Avery-Grace Blanco, who battled health problems earlier this year, also had her best showing so far this year.

Weaver was especially impressed by his Pleffner’s performance, noting that “for a freshman in her first tournament, that was pretty good.”

 Weaver’s team has had its share of disruptions so far this year, and not all of them weather related. Due to a combination of inexperience and health issues, Niwot has fielded a full team at just two league events so far. But Weaver is hopeful for the second half of the season, and expects team leaders Solem and Ostrom to continue their steady improvement. 

“The girls are starting to come around,” he said. “We’re about halfway through, and we’re starting to gel." 

Weaver has been especially impressed by the dedication and focus of Solem, the only Niwot golfer to play in every scheduled event this season. Her best finish of the year came on March 21 at League #1, held at Marianna Butte in Loveland, where her 91 was good for 5th place overall. Though she struggled some in her next few tournaments, failing to break 100, she rebounded on April 10 at the rescheduled League #2 in Fort Morgan, where her 97 was good for 9th place. Weaver said the ninth-grader’s hard work will definitely pay off down the road.

“This year she’s learning how to play in tournaments,” he said. “She has to get ‘tournament tough’ and going to every event is how you do that.”

Weaver also said he thinks that Solem has a “reasonable” chance to make the state tournament in May, as does his #2 golfer Ostrom.

“I’m finding out that Mya is pretty coachable,” he said. “I worked with her some in Loveland, and she responded with some really nice shots.”

Up next for the Cougars is the League #6 at Indian Peaks in Lafayette on April 19, followed by the DiLoretto Invitational at The Ranch Country Club in Westminster on April 24.


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