DENVER | Aurora’s contingent for the Class 5A boys state golf tournament is split right down the middle in terms of veterans and newcomers.
Four of the eight Aurora golfers set to tee off in Monday’s first round at Pinehurst Country Club will do so for at least the second time, while four of them will experience the big stage for the first time.
Cherokee Trail senior Beam Boonta is the most veteran of the Aurora group as he begins a third straight trip to the state tournament and has a chance to improve on his sixth-place finish as a sophomore and 15th-place result last season.
To get that first chance, Boonta had the most dramatic regional performance, as he had to win a five-man playoff for one state spot at the 5A Northern Regional at The Broadlands G.C. He did so with a birdie on the opening hole to join junior teammate Mason Bernard, another returning qualifier, the state tournament.
Bernard — who finished in a tie for 46th place in his state debut — earned his way into state with a comfortable regional round of 78.
Regis Jesuit, which qualified as a team as the runner-up at the Southern Regional at the Country Club of Colorado, has a state-experienced player leading the way in senior Bo Wardynski.
Wardynski had Aurora’s lowest regional score when he shot 70 and he is determined to better his state finish from last season, a tie for seventh in which he played an enjoyable final round with Smoky Hill graduate Chris Kennedy and Chaparral alum Jonas Graham.
Grandview’s lone state qualifier, sophomore Kenny VanWormer, also has previous state experience. He tied for 61st last season and go in with a strong round at the Western Regional Sept. 25.
Aurora’s group of newcomers is intriguing, starting with Eaglecrest’s Andrew White, who became the program’s first freshman to quality for the state tournament since Davis Bryant (who won a state championship in 2017) made it in his first season in 2014.
The remainder of Regis Jesuit coach Craig Rogers’ state contingent are first-timers and all are juniors in John Fredericks, Teddy Hummel and Ryan Occhionero. Fredericks and Hummel both shot plus-seven at regionals, with Occhionero at plus-11.
The Raiders finished fourth in the 5A team standings last season, snapping a streak of three straight championships from 2015-17.
Courtney Oakes is Sentinel Colorado Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. IG: Sentinel Prep Sports
AURORA’S 2019 CLASS 5A BOYS STATE GOLF TOURNAMENT 1ST ROUND TEE TIMES
First round, Oct. 7, at Pinehurst Country Club
TEE NO. 1
9:54 a.m.: BO WARDYNSKI (REGIS JESUIT), Carson Briggs (Broomfield), Charlie Flaxbeard (Cherry Creek)
10:03 a.m.: Ben Reifschneider (Broomfield), Brady Duval (Cherry Creek), JOHN FREDERICKS (REGIS JESUIT)
10:12 a.m.: Ryan Jenson (Broomfield), RYAN OCCHIONERO (REGIS JESUIT), Sam Schouten (Cherry Creek)
10:21 a.m.: Kaden Jaramillo (Broomfield), Sam Grossman (Cherry Creek), TEDDY HUMMEL (REGIS JESUIT)
11:06 a.m.: BEAM BOONTA (CHEROKEE TRAIL), Drex Duffy (Columbine), Josh Lowery (Mountain Vista)
11:15 a.m.: Caden Bailey (Rampart), MASON BERNARD (CHEROKEE TRAIL), Qwenton Caldwell (Columbine)
10:08 a.m.: ANDREW WHITE (EAGLECREST), Colin Temple (Heritage), Kade Hayward (Fruita Monument)
11:11 a.m.: Blake Katt (Legend), KENNY VANWORMER (GRANDVIEW), Luke Ciesla (Rocky Mountain)