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High school golf: Capsule preview

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2008 FLASHBACK

Boys

Team champions (runners-up in parentheses): 4A, Sheridan (Evanston); 3A, Douglas (Cody); 2A, Lusk (Thermopolis).

Individual champions: 4A, Cameron Lindell, Sheridan; 3A, Erik Collier, Rawlins; 2A, Jonathan Pischel, Lusk.

Girls

Team champions: 4A, Gillette (Cheyenne Central); 3A, Lander (Torrington); 2A, Thermopolis (Moorcroft).

Individual champions: 4A, Emily Woodard, Cheyenne Central; 3A, Bri Sweeny, Worland; 2A, Fallon Lewis, Tongue River.

WHO TO WATCH

Returning team champs

Not because they should have easy roads to defending, but come the last weekend in September, the state meets are shaping up to be battles.

4A: The Evanston boys will give Sheridan a run, while the Cheyenne Central girls - behind Woodard - look to end Gillette's decade-long dominance (seven team titles in the last nine years).

3A: The Cody boys' mantra is state title or bust, but Douglas only lost one starter off last year's title team. Lander hosts the 3A meet and the girls look to repeat, but should see competition from Torrington. Throw in the fact that Themopolis moved back up to 3A this year (the girls were 2A state champions and the boys were 2A runners-up last year) and the fight for the title is even more jumbled.

2A: The Lusk boys return enough from last year's team to defend in 2A, but Wright returns everyone from their fourth-place team and Moorcroft, Kemmerer (dropping down from 3A) and Tongue River will field deep teams, as well. The Moorcroft girls look to take the spot of Thermopolis, but Wright and Sundance will also be in the mix.

MARK YOUR CALENDARS

Aug.

Thursday and today: Riverton Invite; Rawlins Invite (Rochelle Ranch); Sheridan Invite.

Monday and Tuesday: Gillette Invite; Douglas Invite.

27-28: Rock Springs Invite (White Mountain); Torrington Invitational.

28-29: Cody/Powell Invite.

Sept.

3-4: Cheyenne Invite; Worland Invite.

4-5: Star Valley Invite.

10-11: Jackson Invite; Wheatland Invite; Laramie Invite.

11-12: Kemmerer Invite; Buffalo Invite.

14-15: Casper Invite.

17 or 18: Tin Cup (Casper).

18-19: Conference meets

25-26: WHSAA state meets - 2A (Hulett); 3A (Lander); 4A (Cheyenne).

2009 OUTLOOK

CLASS 4A

Cheyenne East Indians

OUTLOOK: The girls, led by senior Kelli Cordell - all-state as a sophomore and junior - are brimming with talent and confidence and will contend for the 4A team title at one of their home courses. The boys return three seniors and state tournament veterans, which should help the Indians improve on their 10th-place team finish a year ago.

KEY RETURNERS: Girls - Kelli Cordell, sr.; Mary McCord, sr.; Emily Williams, jr.; Calle Madsen, so. Boys - Kyle Lathrop, sr.; Jared Mullendore, sr.; Steven Caldwell, sr.; Justin Salas, sr.; Ryan DeVries, jr.

HEAD COACH: Paul Hartigan (fifth year)

2008: Girls, third at state. Boys, tied for 10th at state.

Evanston Red Devils

OUTLOOK: With two returning all-state golfers - including 4A runner-up Beau Ehlers - and another two all-conference selections, the boys team will give defending team champion Sheridan all they can handle. The girls will look to junior Paige Stocks' state experience and fundamental swing for leadership.

KEY RETURNERS: Boys - Beau Ehlers, sr.; Wacey Lym, jr.; Dylan Lym, jr.; Brian Simon, jr; Kurt Jones, sr.; Wes Albertson, sr.; Andrew Mari, sr.; Kolton Olson, jr. Girls - Paige Stocks, jr.; Cheryl O'Driscoll, jr.; Liisa Piiparinen, so.; Krysten Munro, fr.

Head coach: Jerry Carroll (24th year).

2008: Boys, state runner-up. Girls, fifth at state.

Gillette Camels

OUTLOOK: Morgan Pearson won the 2007 individual title and finished third last year, but her most impressive feat could be leading the Camels to their third consecutive team title. Not that she'll have to do it alone, as state tournament vets Lauren Seamans and Heather Dunham are back to help. The boys lost two starters from last year's third-place team, but the Camels three returnees all finished in the top-45 last year.

KEY RETURNERS: Girls - Morgan Pearson, sr.; Heather Dunham, sr.; Lauren Seamans, jr. Boys - Kameron Hunter, sr.; Spencer Shipley, sr.; Tyler Given, jr.

HEAD COACH: Rory Williams (first year).

2008: Girls, state champions. Boys, third place at state.

Kelly Walsh Trojans

OUTLOOK: The boys will be led by their trio of seniors and hope their young talent will fill in the remaining spots. The girls lost their only returning golfer, junior Allison Cetak, to a season-ending knee injury.

KEY RETURNERS: Zach Johnson, sr.; Chris Wrasper, sr.; Michael Chapin, sr.

HEAD COACH: Craig Marsh (fifth year)

2008: Boys, ninth at state. Girls, did not place at state.

Natrona County Mustangs/Fillies

OUTLOOK: The boys return only one member from last year's state team, but more importantly have to fill spots for the departed Nate Droll and Andrew Kennedy, who finished fourth and tied for seventh, respectively, at state. The girls have a known commodity in senior Ashley True, who should contend for an all-state spot this season.

KEY RETURNERS: Boys - Cayl Carpenter, jr.; Aaron Bowen, jr; Bud Lower, jr; Chris Munoz, jr.; Garrett Dorn, so.; Tof Chapin, so. Girls - Ashley True, sr.; Savannah Green, so.; Brigit Kelly, so.; Jessica Dietz, so.

HEAD COACH: Tim Fauss (first year)

2008: Boys, sixth at state. Girls, sixth at state.

Riverton Wolverines

OUTLOOK: The boys return four golfers with state experience, led by PJ Thomas, but need to find consistency in the bottom two spots in order to improve upon last year's eighth-place finish. The girls return a two seniors, but need their young golfers to perform well to notch a team finish this year.

KEY RETURNERS: Boys - PJ Thomas, sr; Zac Brewer, sr.; Derek Watson, sr.; Zach Waxler, sr.; Brock Holgate, jr.; Chris Linton, jr. Girls - Kim Arima, sr.; Chancey Chevier, sr.

HEAD COACH: Jim Kennedy (35th year)

2008: Boys, eighth at state. Girls, did not place at state.

Sheridan Broncs

OUTLOOK: The Bronc boys return all six varsity golfers from last years and have their sights set on a building a dynasty. With no outgoing seniors, it's a definite possibility. Cameron Lindell is not only the defending state champ, but he's also a two-time member of the Junior American's Cup.

KEY RETURNERS: Cameron Lindell, jr.; Taylor Reed, jr.; Taylor Spiegelberg, jr.; Toby Nichols, jr.; Kamrin Allen, so.; Chris Cremer, so.

HEAD COACH: Larry Martoglio (32nd year)

2008: Boys, state champion. Girls, ninth place at state.

CLASS 3A

Cody Broncs

OUTLOOK: With four starters back from last year's runner-up team, anything less that a 3A state team title will be a disappointment for the boys. The girls lost two starters off their 2008 state team and will probably only be playing for individual honors. But Danielle Skinner, who had five top-5 finishes last spring, should contend for conference and state titles.

KEY RETURNERS: Boys - Dylan Templin, sr.; Sam Murray, sr.; Jason Wolf, sr.; Ryan Aune, jr.; Thayne Balling, jr. Girls - Danielle Skinner, jr.; Rylee Marron, fr.; Holly Adamson, fr.

HEAD COACH: Chad Smith (fourth year)

2008: Boys, 3A runner-up. Girls, fourth at state.

Douglas Bearcats

OUTLOOK: The boys lost only one starter from the 2008 3A state champions, and while coach Chase Plumb admitted defending a title is never easy, he believes his golfers are ready for the challenge. Having three all-state golfers return helps though. The girls return two letterwinners who both finished in the top-15 at state last year and look to improve on those finishes.

KEY RETURNERS: Boys - Dylln Rider, sr.; Saxon Bull, jr.; Caden Rosin, jr.; Chandler Andreen, jr. Girls - Taylor Kline, sr.; Hali Henwood, jr.

HEAD COACH: Chase Plumb (second year)

2008: Boys, state champions. Girls, did not place at state.

Jackson Broncs

OUTLOOK: The girls are poised to surprise with solid experience in Kikiya Adomaitis and Katy Estes and a promising freshman class. The boys, coach Mike Witz said, are in a "rebuilding cycle." But they do have three returnees from their 2008 state team that should help the incoming freshman adjust to the high school arena.

KEY RETURNERS: Girls - Kikiya Adomaitis, jr; Kay Estes, so. Boys - Jake Kirkwood, sr.; Jordan King, jr.; Sean Sonderman, so.

HEAD COACH: Mike Witz (10th year)

2008: Girls, fifth at state. Boys, ninth at state.

Pinedale Wranglers

OUTLOOK: The boys are young and inexperienced, but coach Kirby Walker expects a lot from John Fenn, who had a "great spring season." Nicole Long is the lone returning girl golfer.

KEY RETURNERS: John Fenn, sr.; Ryan Mckee, jr.; Nicole Long, jr.; Jesse Smith, so.; Dyson Winters, so.; Taylor Diess, so.; Jake Firth, so.; Alex Trulock, so.

HEAD COACH: Kirby Walker (second year)

2008: Boys, 12th at state. Girls, did not place at state.

Thermopolis Bobcats

OUTLOOK: The Bobcats moved up a class to 3A, so 2009 could be a transition year for both teams. The boys return a solid foundation (four golfers from last year's 2A state runner-up), and while Maddie Price is the lone returnee for the two-time defending 2A champs, coach Parke Price is optimistic about his young golfers.

KEY RETURNERS: Boys - Skyler Mehalek, sr.; Chris Groh, sr.; Jackson Hays, sr.; Brody Gillespie, sr.; Brayden Harvey, sr.; Reid Odde, jr.

HEAD COACH: Parke Price

2008: Boys, runner-up at state. Girls, state champions.

Torrington Trailblazers

OUTLOOK: Youth gives way to experience for the boys and coach Juel Afoahl is excited about returning all five of his starters from last year. For the girls, the goal is simple: Place one better than last year's runner-up finish. Seniors Steffie Sandlian and Jamie Asmus will lead that charge.

KEY RETURNERS: Boys - Michael Yost, sr.; Patrick Guth, sr.; Josh Beckey, jr.; Jason McManamen, so.; Ross Breedlove, so.

HEAD COACH: Juel Afoahl (fifth season)

2008: Boys, eighth at state. Girls, runner-up at state.

Wheatland Bulldogs

OUTLOOK: The boys lost only one starter and three-year letterwinner Jerem Henion will lead a deep roster. Coach Lisa Halsey expects some of the younger players to challenge for varsity spots. The girls will have two first-year players.

KEY RETURNERS: Boys - Jeremey Henion, sr.; Riley Miller, jr.; Charles Franke, jr.; Jackson Moede, jr.; Matthan Stafford, jr. Girls - Tori Kitel, sr.; Kalie Johson, jr.

HEAD COACH: Lisa Halsey (13th year)

2008: Boys, seventh at state. Girls, did not place at state.

Worland Warriors

OUTLOOK: Bri Sweeny returns to defend her individual title and will be the class of 3A. She posted the lowest two-day score of any class last year at state and used several summer tournaments to prepare for the fall. The boys return two varsity golfers that finished 10th and 11th last year and combined with new members has coach Jacob Kraft optimistic about a top-five team finish.

KEY RETURNERS: Girls - Bri Sweeny, jr. Boys - Matt Altner, sr.; Andy Skretteberg, jr.

HEAD COACH: Jacob Kraft (second year)

2008: Boys, 11th at state. Girls, did not place at state.

CLASS 2A

Arvada-Clearmont Panthers

OUTLOOK: With two four-year players back for the boys and a first year-player for the girls, first-year coach Bill Joy looks for improvement and consistency from the Panthers

KEY RETURNERS: Boys - Ryan Baumgartner, sr.; Shelby Baumgartner, sr. Girls - Shem Lovato, sr.

HEAD COACH: Bill Joy (first year)

2008: Boys, Girls, did not place at state.

Big Horn Rams

OUTLOOK: Bryce Williams is the lone holderover from the Rams' third-place team finish of a year ago.

KEY RETURNERS: Bryce Williams

HEAD COACH: Sandy Michelena

2008: Boys, third at state.

Kemmerer Rangers

OUTLOOK: Kemmerer returns four starters from 3A's fourth-place team and should contend for the 2A team title.

KEY RETURNERS: Josh Ness, sr.; Sean Wood, jr.; Cody Roberts, jr.; Tim Hunzie, jr.

HEAD COACH: Zem Hopkins (21st year)

2008: Boys, fourth at state (3A).

Lusk Tigers

OUTLOOK: The defending state team champion boys will have to replace two-time individual champ Jonathan Pischel and 2008 third-place finisher Asa Erlewine, but Michael Coon should be one of the top individuals in 2A. The girls will rely on Jayde Swenson and a bevy of newcomers and to make the Tigers competitive at the team level, and a second-place conference finish in the spring is a sign of good things to come.

KEY RETURNERS: Boys - Michael Coon, jr.; Kevin Irvin, jr.; Jace Musfelt, so.; James Ladwig, so.; Dakota Gulley, so. Girls - Jayde Swenson, jr.; Kaitlyn Pfister, jr.

HEAD COACHES: Rich and Deb Murray (second year)

2008: Boys, 2A state champions. Girls, fourth place at state.

Tongue River Eagles

OUTLOOK: Brock Hovey (13th in 2008) and Darrel Barnes return for the boys, while Aspen Rawlings (10th) should be one of the top girls golfers in 2A.

KEY RETURNERS: Brock Hovey, Darrel Barnes; Aspen Rawlings.

HEAD COACH: Sandy Michelena

2008: Girls, third at state. Boys, did not place at state.

Wright Panthers

OUTLOOK: Both teams are led by returning juniors; Kyle Thompson and Stirling Moore. The boys will be strong title contenders, with everyone returning from last year's fourth-place team. Coach Allen Patz said Moore put in a lot of time over the summer, and she leads a trio of junior girls that all finished in the top-15 individuals last year.

KEY RETURNERS: Boys - Taylor Nichols, sr.; Jeff Bauman, sr.; Kyle Thompson, jr.; Jacob Lyndsy, jr.; Dylan Reeves, jr. Girls - Stirling Moore, jr.; Catherine Cook, jr.; Bethany Boyd, jr.; Dani Litaba, so.

HEAD COACH: Allen Patz (11th year)

2008: Boys, Girls teams finished fourth at state.

Teams not listed did not respond to the Star-Tribune questionnaire in time for publication.

- Compiled by Clint Robus, Star-Tribune high school sports coordinator

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