Girls golf preview: Talented veterans spark state title hopes for Niwot
March 11, 2020
Fourth-year coach Ed Weaver has sky high expectations for the 2020 Niwot girls golf program, and it's not hard to see why. His projected varsity squad is loaded with state-tested veterans who are eager for another chance at the Class 4A title, and he's attracted a cohort of newcomers eager to make their marks. With 14 players total, both short-term and long-term prospects seem bright for Niwot girls golf, and Weaver can't wait to get the season started.
"Our goal is to win state," Weaver said. "One, two, and three are coming back, and they've all improved. I love the fact that we have the depth that we have, and I'm excited about the program overall."
To be sure, topping their runner-up finish at last year's snow-shortened state tournament will be no easy feat for the Niwot girls golf team, but Weaver feels confident that he has the right pieces in place. Leading the squad for the third straight year is senior Julia Solem, the 2019 Northern League Player of the Year. She placed 15th at state last year, and Weaver expects the fourth-year varsity golfer to challenge for a top-five spot in her final season.
"She's been working on her swing, and she's hitting the ball pretty well," Weaver said. "She got a scholarship to Regis, and she's going to be fine."
Like Weaver, Solem is excited about Niwot's chances to contend for the state title this season, but mostly she just hopes to end her high school golf career on a high note.
"I'm just going to enjoy my last year with the girls," the fourth-year varsity golfer said. "I've been working hard, and I'm excited to see that hard work pay off and see where it is this year. It will be great with Sydney and Hallie behind me at two and three because they're both talented and they've both improved."
That would be junior Hallie Ostrom, a third-year veteran, and sophomore Sydney Rothstein, now in her second year. Ostrom battled consistency last season, and finished a disappointing 31st at state. However, Weaver expects the junior to shrug that off, and is comfortable with her in the number two slot. Meanwhile, he has been pleasantly surprised by the emergence of sophomore Rothstein's skills, both on and off the course.
"Sydney has been working hard during the off-season, and her swing looks much better," he said. "Not that it was bad before, it just looks better, is more consistent, and she feels better with the swing. It's all good."
Rounding out the varsity foursome is Trinity Pleffner, another veteran golfer. Also returning to the team this season are Isobel Tuck and Anna Taing, who both played a few varsity rounds in 2019.
As for his newcomers, Weaver plans to make his junior varsity program "more vigorous" this season, with an expanded tournament schedule and more opportunities for play. Overseeing it will be assistant coach Chad Richart, now in his second season. With seven ninth-graders, Weaver wants to make sure the new generation is ready to take the helm in 2021 and beyond.
"My goal has always been to build a program, not a team," he said. "I can see some talent potential, so I'm going to invest in my freshmen."
The 2020 Niwot girls golf season tees off on Saturday, March 14th at the Chilly Chili Invitational at Eagle Trace Golf Course in Broomfield. Northern League play opens at Twin Peaks on March 31.