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NHS dominates at JV golf invitational

As Niwot High School golf Coach Ed Weaver prepared his two 4A state tournament qualifiers, Emmett Shell and Drew Stapp, to step into the limelight for their biggest event of the season on Oct. 2 and 3 in Montrose, he was also gazing optimistically into the future following his underclassmen’s dominant showing at last week’s Niwot JV (Junior Varsity) Invitational.

The Cougars were stingy hosts at the Twin Peaks Golf Course, grabbing the top two team finishes and five of the top six individual rounds in the event, which featured 128 golfers on 34 teams from 18 different schools.

“It was the biggest (JV) tournament we’ve ever had,” Weaver said. “Last year, we had about 90 players. Everything went off really well. And kudos to our players. I was very proud of all of them.”

Weaver fielded four teams made up of 15 players, all of whom scored 86 or better. Some familiar names from this varsity season led the scoring and showed why their coach is bullish about 2024.

Junior Devin Farahani and sophomore Sawyer Bennett tied for low individual honors, firing impressive two-under 68s. Bennett led the tournament by two shots with six holes to play and finished the last stretch one under par. Farahani, however, caught fire down the stretch, finishing his last six holes with three pars and three birdies to track down his teammate for a share of the individual honors.

“I am very proud of Devin, and I’ve got to talk that one up a little bit,” Weaver gushed. “He started the season as the low qualifier at the tryouts (for the first tournament of the year). But then he kind of drifted and slipped a bit. He played really well to finish off his season.”

Farahani will be one of the senior leaders Weaver will look to next year, joining classmates Jagger Kilpatrick, who shot a one-over 71 at the JV Invitational, and Stapp, who’s looking to ride the wave of his first state tournament appearance into 2024.

“Drew has really grown as a person and as a golfer this year,” Weaver said of Stapp.

Bennett and Farahani were joined by teammate Jackson Sessa on the invitational’s first-place finishing team. Sessa contributed an even par 70 to give the Cougars a three-player total of 206, four shots under par. For Sessa, who was the Cougars’ lone representative at the state tournament a year ago as a freshman, the round was an encouraging finish to a season that saw him struggle in his final varsity outings.

Despite the late-season struggles, the sophomore assured his coach that better things are in store in his final two years at Niwot. “He told me this was going to be the last time he doesn’t play in a state tournament. I believe him,” Weaver said.

Freshman Sebastian Bennett, who golfed in two varsity events this season, wound up his 2023 campaign with a one-over 71 at the Twin Peaks event to lead the Cougars’ #2 team to its second-place finish. Sophomores Moses Lance (76) and Henry Noblin (78) contributed to the team total of 225.

Two other local players finished the event with sub-80 scores, giving the Cougars nine golfers with scores of 79 or better. Freshman Arno Bergstrom shot 79 to lead Niwot #3, while sophomore Joe Weimer (75) was the top finisher for Niwot #4.


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