Boys Golf: Regional rounds arrive rapidly with state berths on the line

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Cherokee Trail senior Bradley Scalia aims for his fourth career trip to the Class 5A boys state golf tournament when he and the Cougars play in the 5A Northern Regional on Sept. 19, 2016, at Saddle Rock Golf Course in Aurora. The 5A state tournament is scheduled for Sept. 26-27 at Bookcliff Country Club in Grand Junction. (Photo by Courtney Oakes/Aurora Sentinel)

Did you blink?

If you did, you might have missed the entire boys prep golf season.

Amazingly enough, the fastest moving sport has already reached the postseason at the same time as some football teams have only played two or three of their 10-game regular season slates.

More affected by weather than almost every other sport, boys golfers in Colorado race against the unpredictable elements with a fast-moving schedule.

Just five weeks after the start of the regular season, regional state qualifying tournaments arrive beginning Sept. 15, where Aurora teams and others seek to extend their campaigns two more weeks.

The top two teams and 13 individuals not on either one of those teams qualifies for state, which for 5A is Sept. 26-27 at Bookcliff Country Club in Grand Junction, while the 4A state tournament is slated for the same dates at River Valley Ranch in Carbondale.

Defending 5A state champion Regis Jesuit won the Continental League championship, which sends coach Craig Rogers’ team to the Western Regional at Broadlands G.C. in Broomfield.

After several weeks of tight internal competition, the Raiders’ regional foursome is made up of seniors Tyler Zhang and Justin Markel and juniors Cal McCoy and Drew Anderson.

Zhang and McCoy contributed to last season’s state championship, while Markel and Anderson get their first chances to play in regionals.

Joining Regis Jesuit in the Western Regional is Aurora Central from the EMAC. A shotgun start is set for 8:30 a.m. Sept. 15.

Cherokee Trail surged to third in the final Centennial League standings following the league finale Sept. 12 at Fitzsimons G.C. and it earned the Cougars a very short trip to Saddle Rock G.C. for the Northern Regional Sept. 19.

Senior Bradley Scalia — the Centennial League runner-up who shot a 1-under-par 70 in his last league round — aims for his fourth trip to the state tournament for Cherokee Trail, which will also see Overland in regional play.

Eaglecrest junior Davis Bryant wrapped up a second straight Centennial League individual championship with a scorching round in the final league tournament.

On the same Fitzsimons Golf Course where he shot a 4-under-par 68 last season, Bryant was even better as he made eight birdies on his way to a 6-under 65.

Bryant, who was 12th at last season’s 5A state tournament, leads the Raptors into play in the Central Regional at City Park in Denver Sept. 20, where Hinkley is also headed for an 8 a.m. shot gun start. Eaglecrest recently played a practice round on the course to get the lay of the land.

The Southern Regional at South Suburban G.C. (scheduled for 10 a.m. Sept. 19) has a definite Aurora flavor with three city teams — Grandview, Gateway and Rangeview — in the field.

The Wolves finished sixth in the Centennial League standings with all-league performer Danny Taggart leading the way. Taggart is in search of a second straight trip to the 5A state tournament.

Gateway and Rangeview both have improved lineups and performed well in the last EMAC major tournament of the season.

The Olys got a double boost from the arrival of junior Michael Milton, who played at Eaglecrest last season. Milton and his freshman brother, Garrison, both shot 83 at Aurora Hills G.C. The Raiders got back senior Jared Clanton from a wrist injury and he finished second with an 80.

Unlike the 5A programs who had to wait until the end to know their destination, 4A Vista PEAK’s regional was predetermined.

Coach Michael Dougherty’s Bison — who made a smashing debut in the EMAC this season, finishing second overall behind Prairie View — visit the 4A Region 3 tournament, set for 8:30 a.m. Sept. 19 at Boomerang Golf Links.

Courtney Oakes is Aurora Sentinel Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. FB: Aurora Prep Sentinel

CLASS 5A BOYS GOLF REGIONALS

Western Regional — Sept. 15, 8:30 a.m. (shotgun start) at Broadlands G.C.

Aurora teams: Aurora Central, Rangeview, Regis Jesuit, Smoky Hill. Other teams: Lakewood, Arvada West, Palmer, Fairview, Legacy, Rocky Mountain, Greeley West, Mountain Vista, Chaparral, Chatfield

Southern Regional — Sept. 19, 10 a.m. at South Suburban G.C.

Aurora teams: Grandview, Hinkley. Other teams: Arapahoe, Brighton, Ralston Valley, Liberty, Bear Creek, Doherty, Monarch, Broomfield, Horizon, Rock Canyon, Castle View Douglas County, Central (G.J.)

Northern Regional — Sept. 19, 10:30 a.m. at Saddle Rock G.C.

Aurora teams: Cherokee Trail, Gateway, Overland. Other teams: Northglenn, Denver South, Dakota Ridge, Pine Creek, Prairie View, Fountain-Fort Carson, Fossil Ridge, Boulder, Heritage, ThunderRidge, Loveland

Central Regional — Sept. 20, 8 a.m. (shotgun start) at City Park G.C. (Denver)

Aurora team: Eaglecrest. Other teams: Denver East, Cherry Creek, Adams City, Columbine, Rampart, Westminster, Coronado, Grand Junction, Mountain Range, Fort Collins, Poudre, Highlands Ranch, Legend, Pomona

CLASS 4A BOYS GOLF REGIONAL

Region 3 — Sept. 19, 8:30 a.m. at Boomerang Golf Links

Aurora team: Vista PEAK. Other teams: Centaurus, Greeley Central, Longmont, Mountain Vista, Niwot, Northridge, Silver Creek, Thompson Valley, Berthoud, Erie, Frederick, Roosevelt, Skyline, Windsor, Fort Morgan