In 2018 and 2019, Woodland Park High School sent three players each to the boys’ state golf tournament. If it is to achieve that mark again this fall — maybe even sending its entire team of four — the Panthers will have to do so against some very stiff competition.
Woodland Park, by virtue of establishing itself as one of the more competitive programs in the state, will play in the Region 2 state qualifying tournament Sept. 23 at the Country Club of Colorado, located near the Cheyenne Mountain Resort. Traditional state power Cheyenne Mountain is the regional host. The tournament also includes state top teams Palmer Ridge, Ponderosa, Evergreen and Golden.
“It will be a really tough course,” said Panthers’ coach Brian Gustafson. “The cream will rise to the top. It’s going to be tough. Our guys are going to have to play well.”
The prep golf season in Colorado is short. The Panthers played five tournaments before the first day of school.
“The guys have shown a lot of improvement,” Gustafson said. “Now they are settling into a groove since school started.”
Senior Evan Cisneros has been the most consistent Panthers’ golfer. He is second in the Class 4A Metro League standings in overall scoring behind The Classical Academy senior Liam O’Halloran (already a three-time state qualifier). Cisneros fired a career-best and school-record 1-under par 71 on Aug. 13 during the Palmer Terror Invitational at Patty Jewett. He did so on the Prairie and Peak courses.
“Evan is having a solid season, but so are our other guys,” Gustafson said.
Rounding out the top four Panthers’ gofers are seniors Zak Ludwick and Cody Caldwell, and junior Matthew Lecky.
The fifth player on the team is freshman TJ McAfee.
Ludwick is third in the league standings and Caldwell is fifth. Lecky recently fired a career-best 88.
Woodland Park will close out the league portion of its schedule at home at Shining Mountain on Sept. 17 in the Panther Invitational.
“That should be a good for us going into regionals,” Gustafson said. “Our course is not easy and neither is the Country Club of Colorado.”
The state tournament is scheduled for Oct. 7-8 at The Bridges Golf and Country Club in Montrose.
Cisneros and Ludwick were state qualifiers in 2018, each finishing tied for 70th.
In 2017, Cisneros’ older brother, Jace, was a state qualifier.
The only two-time state qualifiers in Woodland Park history are Sam Levy and Lou Levy.