AURORA | The Cherokee Trail boys golf team finished off a fantastic Centennial League season with a league championship.
The Cougars had never finished higher than third in the standings in the talent-right league, but changed that Thursday at Aurora Hills Golf Course with a clutch performance in the last of five league tournaments.
Led by a 1-over-par 73 from senior Zach Goldsmith, junior Ji Woo Jang’s 75 and sophomore Bradley Scalia’s 76, coach Troy Flores’ Cherokee Trail team erased a two-stroke deficit and surged past Arapahoe to finish eight strokes clear of the Warriors in the league championship chase.
Senior Mitchell Nevin also carded a 78 in the final tournament for the Cougars, who placed third in the weather-shortened Centennial League opener at Meadow Hills G.C., won back-to-back tournaments at the Meadows G.C. and Saddle Rock G.C. — also program firsts — and finished second in the final gatherings at South Suburban G.C. and Aurora Hills G.C.
Cherokee Trail totaled 1,461 strokes for the five tournaments to the 1,469 carded by Arapahoe to become the first team other than Cherry Creek to win the Centennial League since Fairview — which is no longer in the league — in 2007. The Bruins came in third this time at 1,507, helped by their strong final tournament that was the first of the season for league teams to come in under 300 as a group.
The Cougars’ additional prize for winning the league is to play in the Class 5A Southern Regional — set for Sept. 15 at Denver’s Wellshire G.C. — where they hope to qualify at least a three-man team for the 5A state tournament Sept. 29-30 at Colorado Springs Country Club.
Jang finished the season as the top individual in the league, while Goldsmith (6th) and Scalia (8th) joined him on the All-Centennial League team by making it into the top eight. Two other Aurora players made it into the all-league group, as Eaglecrest freshman Davis Bryant finished third and Smoky Hill junior Paul Cleveland claimed fourth.
Grandview was assured of grabbing the league’s fourth spot for seeding in 5A regionals — which sends coach Randy Smith’s team to Raccoon Creek G.C. — as Mullen drops to 4A for the postseason. But paced by a 76 from TJ Prochazka, Mason Jowsey’s 78 and Danny Taggart’s 79, the Wolves finished eight shots in front of the Mustangs for the outright fourth spot.
Cleveland shot 77 in the final league tournament as Smoky Hill finished sixth overall, but fifth among 5A teams, and will join Cherokee Trail at Wellshire G.C. for state qualifying. Kyle Colen and Parker Friedentag each shot 81 for the Buffs.
Bryant shot a 77 for an Eaglecrest team that is headed to his home course — Green Valley Ranch G.C. — for the 5A Central Regional Sept. 15.
Overland posted its only team score of the season with a 404 at Aurora Hills G.C. and as the ninth-place team plays in the North Regional on a very familiar Meadows Hills G.C. Sept. 16.
Courtney Oakes is Sports Editor of the Aurora Sentinel. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. Facebook: Aurora Prep Sentinel. IG: Auroraprepsentinel
CENTENNIAL LEAGUE BOYS GOLF MEET NO. 5
Sept. 4 at Aurora Hills G.C.
Team scores: 1. Cherry Creek 298; 2. CHEROKEE TRAIL 301; 3. Arapahoe 311; 4. Mullen 314; 5. GRANDVIEW 318; 6. SMOKY HILL 322; 7. EAGLECREST 336; 8. OVERLAND 404
Team 10 individuals: 1. Subin Lee (Cherry Creek) 69; 2. ZACH GOLDSMITH (CHEROKEE TRAIL) 73; T3. EJ Clark (Cherry Creek) 74; T3. Michael Phenicie (Mullen) 74; 5. JI WOO JANG (CHEROKEE TRAIL) 75; T6. BRADLEY SCALIA (CHEROKEE TRAIL) 76; T6. TJ PROCHAZKA (GRANDVIEW) 76; T8. DAVIS BRYANT (EAGLECREST) 77; T8. PAUL CLEVELAND (SMOKY HILL) 77; T8. Turner Johnson (Arapahoe) 77
Aurora team-by-team results (in order of finish)
Cherokee Trail (301): Zach Goldsmith 73, Ji Woo Jang 75, Bradley Scalia 76, Mitchell Nevin 78, Alex Anderson 82; Grandview (318): TJ Prochazka 76, Mason Jowsey 78, Danny Taggart 79, Nate Lewis 85, Matt McCartney 85; Smoky Hill (322): Paul Cleveland 77, Kyle Colen 81, Parker Friedentag 81, Cole Johnson 83, Evan Richards 84; Eaglecrest (336): Davis Bryant 77, Alejandro Torres 80, Joel Jack 89, Ryan Beaulieu 91, Thomas Logan 93; Overland (404): Brandon Finning 89, Aaron Nicholson 99, Morgan Moore 106, Mason Moore 110
Other team-by-team results (in order of finish)
Cherry Creek (298): Subin Lee 69, EJ Clark 74, David Voell 77, Cole Edwards 78, Hunter Tuite 81; Arapahoe (311): Turner Johnson 77, Henry Schaefer 79, Austin Lienenmann 80, Tyler Martinez 81, David Packer 81; Mullen (314): Michael Phenicie 74, Reece Jones 78, Josh Rymkiewicz 80, Jack Horvath 82, Jack Dowdle 93