Pine Creek golfers who helped themselves have more help this season

Maggie Geolat, a junior at Palmer Ridge, took 15th at 4A state Photo by THE GAZETTE FILE

From tee boxes everywhere, Pine Creek’s Chelsea Cabanting and Mary Kate Nelson will be the only ones with their heads held high when a misfiring golfer shouts, “Fore!”

After being the only varsity girls’ golfers for the Eagles last season, senior Cabanting and sophomore Nelson will lead a full four-girl varsity team in 2012.

“I think girls saw how we acted with each other and how close we were,” Nelson said of their relationship. “And I think that girls wanted to be a part of that.”

And while their motto this season is “we’re a team before individuals,” it really started when they were two scorecards short of just that.

Last season Nelson and Cabanting were stuck in the desert surrounded by the lush green grass at Eisenhower golf course at the Air Force Academy.

“We were both playing terribly,” Cabanting admitted.

As she walked up to the 10th hole she saw Nelson’s subpar expression on 11.

“She just gave me a thumbs-up -- just to keep going,” Nelson remembers. “She taught me that one bad round isn’t the end of the world. Every time I get down she was there cheering me up.”

“We worry about building each other up,” Cabanting added. “We’re a team before individuals.”

After that, they admitted they played a little better that day despite the windy conditions, but truth be told they’ll still pencil it up as a “rough day.”

As the season went on, the two grew closer. Nelson shot a best of 87 and finished fifth in the Metro league. Cabanting shot a pair of 89s and finished fourth in Metro.

This season Pine Creek will have nine players -- two seniors, three sophomores and four freshmen. They only had six (two varsity) players last season.

Coach Shane Brown – who has been the assistant for Pine Creek the past five seasons – traded positions with last spring’s coach Shelley Lockwood. His new-look team aims to contend for a league title.

“The goal at hand is to win as a team,” said Brown who has a team that at times, refuses to leave practice.

A year ago, Nelson admitted she was scared coming out onto the fairways of high school golf. Now she wants to cherish the last season she has paired up with her close friend.

“We were alone at practice a lot (last season),” Nelson said. “It’ll be tough not having her around and making me laugh on the course.”

Soon, Nelson will have the most experience on the team and will be the driver for the Eagles’ squad.

  

Odds and Ends

Tee time with the family

John Krause has been an instructor for more than 20 years. He’s spent the past five years coaching boys’ golf at Colorado Springs School.

But now he’ll coach girls’ golf at St. Mary’s so he can work with his daughter Alexandra, one of his six kids.

He says he wants to spend time with her before she graduates next year.

“What better way than on the course?,” he says.

TCA sophomore twins Sarah and Rachel Weber will make up a team that has only one senior.

 

Where’d you go?

Liberty has zero returning players. Three of the golfers moved and one decided not to play again this season

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Coach Chris Ramee said all the girls are starting from scratch.

“On the positive side, none of the girls have to break any bad habits,” Ramee said.

TCA has only one returning player in senior Sarah Saller. Coach Bob Gravelle says she is a state hopeful.

 

Oh there you are!

Manitou Springs’ coach Ken Vecchio says the Mustangs girls’ golf program has its largest turnout ever.

Air Academy has nine golfers this year, but no seniors. Katie Ryall and Becci Grier will lead the team as the two junior captains.

Doherty returns four top-10 5A Metro finishers. Senior Danielle DuPont finished 10th, junior Brittany Clark finished eighth, junior Jamie Morgan finished seventh and junior Michelle Nakayama finished sixth.

Canon City has 12 golfers led by juniors Torrie Sauer, who qualified for state and Brittany Hauger. Coach Dyle Knifong said the five other juniors on the team will club it out for the final two varsity spots.

And Wasson and Mitchell have a combined team led by senior Shelby Lynn.

 

Underlying success

Just as it has in softball and swimming, Discovery Canyon might sneak up in girls’ golf. The Thunder is led by state-hopeful senior Lauren McCray.

Fountain-Fort Carson has had one of its best athletic years in memory. A wrestling state champion, softball state qualifier and a round-of-16 basketball team later, the girls’ golf team is led by a talented young crew – junior Madison O’Connor, junior Gianna Pangallo and sophomore Baylee McGuire.

 

New reported coaches

Bob Gravelle, TCA – Coached the boys’ golf team in the fall. He is retired Air Force and now is a substitute math teacher at TCA.

Shane Brown, Pine Creek – The five-year assistant takes over for Shelley Lockwood.

John Krause, St. Mary’s – He says his team is very small this season. He coached CSS boys’ golf for the past five seasons and plans to continue so.

 

Five golfers to watch

 

Teams to watch

5A

 

4A

3A

 

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