Shooting for three

Two-time defending champion Douglas County again among area’s top teams

Posted 8/17/10

Douglas County boys golf has graduated two heavy hitting players in the last two years, but two others remain, giving them hope of a third …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Don't have an ID?

Print subscribers

If you're a print subscriber, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one.


Click here to see your options for becoming a subscriber.

If you made a voluntary contribution in 2022-2023 of $50 or more, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one at no additional charge. VIP Digital Access includes access to all websites and online content.

Our print publications are advertiser supported. For those wishing to access our content online, we have implemented a small charge so we may continue to provide our valued readers and community with unique, high quality local content. Thank you for supporting your local newspaper.

Shooting for three

Two-time defending champion Douglas County again among area’s top teams


Douglas County boys golf has graduated two heavy hitting players in the last two years, but two others remain, giving them hope of a third consecutive Class 5A state championship.

Having won back-to-back 5A team titles in the last two seasons, Taylor Wild and Bryan Fickle, the last two players from both the 2008 and 2009 teams, return this season to lead the Huskies to a possible trifecta.

Last year at the state tournament, Wild shot a 152 to tie for seventh place, while Fickle tied at 17, having shot 157. Fickle and Wild are both three-year letter winners with Huskies varsity. Fickle was first team All-Continental League three times so far. He has also seen the state tournament three times and placed among the top 20 at the season finale. Wild was first-team All-State as a junior as well as first-team All-League.

“We need to focus on getting better throughout the season,” Fickle said about where the 2010 Huskies team is in its first week.

Both players feel their summer season did not represent their best golf, but Wild was still able to post a 74 at a tournament at The Courses at Hyland Hills in Westminster, while Fickle put up a 72 during a tournament at Highland Hills Golf Course in Greeley.

“With travel and a lack of structure and not as much practice, [we] just weren’t as focused,” Wild said. “But we came into the season the same way last year, and we won the state title. … We have the experience, and we know how to win. State is a whole ’nother experience.”

Fickle said as far as state is concerned, County knows how to make it happen, while others make fall apart from the pressure. This is something the two seniors hope to instill in the younger Huskies coming.

“The focus is on regionals and state and not stressing league meets,” Wild said.

Wild started playing golf at about age 6. He started playing competitive golf four years later. He describes himself as a kind of player who can hit a perfect tee shot but fights himself through the fairway.

“My head will get to me on the course sometimes, but I’m getting better,” Wild said. “My distance [off the drive] definitely helps me out. … My wedges have helped me score.”

Fickle, who began playing around age 7, started competing in the sport around age 12. He’s been working on his game more this year and is hoping to make a major contribution to the team, he said. His recovery shots are his greatest strength in his opinion.

“I’ll be all over the place off the tee, but I find a way to make it to the hole,” Fickle said.

Fickle also finds a way to put a streak together when he starts getting behind, he said.

Although both seniors would love to graduate as the 5A individual champion, both agree a third consecutive team title is most important. On an average, they are working toward being on top of the Continental League against Highlands Ranch, which they feel are “stacked” this season, and Regis, among others. First-team All-State honors are also a big goal for them both.


Arapahoe finished among the top six teams in the Class 5A state championship tournament last year.

Under the direction once again of Paul Anderson, in his 10th year as head coach, the Warriors return after a 2009 campaign that culminated in a second-place finish in the Centennial League to Cherry Creek and a second-place finish in the Metro East Regionals.

This season, Arapahoe is expected to return one state qualifier in Adam Jones, a junior. Other players expected to help the team scores in 2010 could be senior Taylor Motsinger and juniors Hunter Kessler and Drew Brumley.

This year, Anderson expects the team to have a season of development.

“Six of our top seven graduated, so we’ll be rebuilding with a young team,” he said.

Anderson said Creek should be the Centennial odds on favorite.

Castle View

Castle View boys golf finished fourth in its league last season with one state qualifier, Bryson Knoll, who graduated.

Entering his fifth year as coach of the Sabercats, Perry Villanueba returns with four varsity players from the 2009 campaign, including junior Matt Messer and seniors Jesse Chipman, Eric Schmedeman and Ian Prendergast. Also a senior but new to the varsity line is Ryan Tomlinson.

Villanueba said he would really like to see his top three shooters, which he expects to be Messer, Chipman and Schmedeman, to make it to the Class 5A state tournament, as Castle View returns to the Continental League.

“They have all shot in the 70s, and I think that’s what it takes to make it through regionals and to state,” Villanueba said.

Messer has been the team’s most active off-season player, seeing a ton of junior golf tournaments. He won a two-day Colorado Junior Golf Association tournament over the summer and qualified for American Junior Golf Association action as well.

Another couple players to keep an eye on are twins Daniel and David Becker, sophomores. The coach is hoping the two are strong for the Cats not just this season but especially their junior and senior years.

“They’ve grown a bunch and playing really good golf right now,” Villanueba said.

The biggest struggle for View this season should be the Continental competition, the toughest league in competitive golf for high school, the coach said. Villanueba said. He expects Douglas County and Highlands Ranch to be tough, as well as Regis, whom he suspects will win the 5A title this year.


One thing Chaparral is going to lack this season is depth, but it’s not to say they don’t have players who can swing the irons.

Rob Johnson takes the reigns as head coach of Wolverines boys golf this season. With him is expected to be Tanner Jenson, a senior and previous state qualifier, senior Jack Carroll, who returns to varsity, and senior Connor Reddick, who transferred from Chatfield, where he was a state qualifier as well.

Taylor Jenson may contribute heavily to the team this fall.

“We are not very deep this year, but the talent at the top can compete with anyone,” Johnson said.

The new head coach feels Highlands Ranch, Rock Canyon and Douglas County, as well as Regis, should be Continental’s strongest in 2010.

Douglas County

Douglas County returns to defend its consecutive team titles. The Huskies are once again under the direction of Jeff Riley, in his fourth year as head coach.

Besides Fickle and Wild, Brandon Hostetler and Jared Tedesco are also returning letter winners this season. If the Huskies are going to put up a third consecutive team championship, sophomore Bradley Willoughby and freshman Kyler Dunkle could be among the ones to help this year.

“We’re looking forward to defending our state championship,” Riley said. “We return two seasoned players and hope to have another one or two players step up to fill some big shoes left by graduation over the last two years. We remain talented, but we will need all players to raise their level of play even higher, as we still have the bullseye on our back that everyone is gunning for.”

Riley said Regis and Rock Canyon, which moves up to a 5A post-season, and Highlands Ranch are expected to be very strong in the Continental League this fall.


Pirates coach Brian DeHerrera expects Englewood to get a boost from the talents of Nathan Medina, who moved to Englewood from Grand Junction and reportedly shoots consistently in the low to mid-80s. Medina will be joined by four returning lettermen, Garrett Heidrick, Chris Worek, Aaron Van Dyke and Kenneth Cruz.

The coach said he also expects there will be four or five additional golfers who will join the team as soon as word gets around practice has started.

DeHerrera noted the Pirates have moved into the 3A Metro League, and he didn’t know what the level of competition will be among the league’s member schools at the time.


With the retirement of coach Bill Krape, Nicole Poulos takes over the reins of Heritage’s boys golf program. A staff instructor at Broken Tee Golf Course in Englewood, she is a Class A PGA Golf Professional.

She is also a Titleist Performance Institute (TPI) Certified Golf Fitness Instructor with 10 years of teaching experience.

Poulos played collegiate golf at Creighton University and has experience coaching the sport at the high school and collegiate levels. After working the last three years in August, Ga., she returned to Denver, where she has instructed at Columbine Country Club and Cherry Creek Country Club.

Highlands Ranch

Caleb Barker returns to Highlands Ranch boys golf as the defending Class 5A individual champion. Now a senior, Barker, who lives and breathes junior tournaments outside of the high school season, should prove to be a huge threat for Continental League competitors.

Most coaches in the Continental League agree Highlands Ranch is coming stacked this season. Connor Winter should return as well as Blake Basham, both juniors and both of which qualified for state last year but had trouble giving the same performance they had during league tournaments. Winter, Basham and Barker were among four Falcons to post scores in the 70s fairly consistently through last season. With more maturity and development, and having learned from some mistakes at the 5A finale, the Falcons should be going toe to toe with Regis and possibly Douglas County for the Continental bragging rights.


Last year, Lutheran-Parker boys golf finished in fourth place in its league play and fourth in its league championship tournament. The also qualified one Lion to the Class 4A state championship dance.

Rob Goldhammer returns as the Lions’ coach, as well as Patrick Kundracik, who was the team’s state qualifier in 2009. He finished 42nd out of 84 in the field. He is presently ranked No. 10 in the Mile High League.

Zach Loptein should also return to the links, ranked No. 14 in the league. The Lions also have some young talent incoming as freshmen this season, including Peyton Devencenty, Hayden Nicholaides and Sid Martinez.

“We are really excited for this season,” Goldhammer said. “We’ll have two returning starters and a group of talented freshmen this season.”

Alexander Dawson will continue strong in Mile Hi. Front Range Christian, having lost Ming Qu, may be rebuilding, the coach said.

Mountain Vista

Mountain Vista finished eighth in the Continental League last year and did not manage to qualify any players to the 5A state tournament. Tim Taylor returns as coach of the Golden Eagles with 10 years behind him.

With him are returning varsity golfers Matt Weiss, Austin Raap and Nick Alfino.

“Mountain Vista High School has some players with the potential to do very well if they play to their capability,” Taylor said.


The Mustangs bring with them a lot of maturity with four seniors and two juniors expected to make an impact for the team.

John Moos, who has been coach of Ponderosa boys golf for 21 years, has senior Derek Despres returning to the varsity roster after finishing the 2009 5A state tournament in a ninth-place tie.

Also expected to do well for the Mustangs are seniors Cole Harscher, Jordan Conway and Kolton Kreymborg, as well as junior Matt Loutzenhiser and Alex Beaudoin.

“I think we should be competitive in every match,” Moos said.

He feels Highlands Ranch and Regis should be tough this season in Continental.

Rock Canyon

Rock Canyon is expected to be one of the teams to beat in the Continental League this season, as well as 5A state. The Jaguars moved up from its 4A post-season into the 5A ranks starting this year.

Under the coaching of Jason Dunkle, in his second year, Canyon has first-team All-League swingster Brendan Connolly returning, who finished among 4A’s top 10 last year. Also coming back is Josh Gardella, who finished top 20 at state and earned second-team All-League honors last year.

Andrew Romano is expected to have an impact on the season as well.

Although some Continental coaches have said the Jags should be tough, Dunkle said it should be a rebuilding year for Rock Canyon.

“We lost four seniors,” he said. “However, we should still have a competitive team. Move to 5A should be a challenge for us as well.”

Dunkle sees Highlands Ranch and Douglas County at the top of the league this season. He also said Mountain Vista should be rebuilding this year as well. And being new to 5A and the league, Legend mat struggle a bit.


Jim McCord returns as coach of the Grizzlies, and with him comes returning varsity players Quade Mitchell and Eric Wendt. Also expected to do well for ThunderRidge this season is Matt Grace, Kyle Brockman, Nick Furman and Austin McGrane.

“We have a very young team and are looking forward to a great season,” McCord said.

The coach expects Highlands Ranch, Rock Canyon and Regis to bring the toughest competition to the Continental League.

Staff writer Tom Munds contributed to this report.


Our Papers

Ad blocker detected

We have noticed you are using an ad blocking plugin in your browser.

The revenue we receive from our advertisers helps make this site possible. We request you whitelist our site.