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Niwot girls golf takes seventh at Class 4A state tournament

This year's Class 4A state tournament served as another reminder of how much potential lies within the Niwot High School girls golf program.

With three competing golfers, including lone senior Mina O'Dell, the Cougars placed seventh in the team standings with a two-round combined score of 555. Head coach Ed Weaver's trio shot a 280 in the first round on Monday, May 20, before cutting off five strokes the next day at the Country Club of Colorado in Colorado Springs.

Last year, O'Dell, then-sophomore Alena Kasanicky, and then-senior Kate Jones guided Niwot to 13th at state.

Wendy Cheruiyot's strong two-day performance is a large reason why Weaver is optimistic about his program's future. Competing in her first state tournament, the Niwot freshman finished tied for 13th with an overall score of 173 - 86 in round one and 87 in round two.

The only Class 4A freshman who shot lower than Cheruiyot was Holy Family High School's Acadia Curtis at 171. However, according to Weaver, Cheruiyot was penalized two strokes during the first round when she accidentally hit another player's ball, so she would've finished tied with Curtis if it weren't for the mistake.

"I'm pretty excited for her future," Weaver said of Cheruiyot. "Freshmen come in and typically they're overwhelmed (at state). Wendy did not get overwhelmed. I saw some other freshmen that were overwhelmed by the whole process - parents walking alongside, coaches on every hole, rules officials all over the place. It's intimidating."

Niwot's next-best score came courtesy of junior Alena Kasanicky, who shot an 89 in round one and a 91 the following day (180 overall) to finish tied for 23rd. Weaver admitted that although the course proved difficult, Kasanicky didn't enjoy her best two rounds of the season.

O'Dell also struggled to find her best stroke at the Country Club of Colorado, finishing 64th overall with a two-round score of 202. Still, she wrapped her high school career as one of Niwot's most successful golfers in recent years.

"She was a four-year state tournament qualifier," Weaver said of O'Dell. "It's only happened a couple of times between boys and girls (at Niwot). I've probably had four or five that have done it in their careers, so that's pretty cool. That's a big accomplishment."

Weaver also allowed freshman Addy Murphy to join Niwot in Colorado Springs after she narrowly missed the state cut at regionals the week prior.

"I fully expect she's going to be in the state tournament next year, wherever it is," Weaver said. "She'll go, 'Oh, yeah, I remember being here. I remember how this was going on and that was going on.' It won't be like, 'What's she doing? What is that?' It won't be that because she's got familiarity."

Despite losing O'Dell to graduation, Weaver is "bullish" about next season with Cheruiyot, Kasanicky, Murphy and sophomore Emmy Hostelley all set to return.

"The outlook is pretty solid," Weaver said. "I'm excited about it."


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