With the sun shining and a 50-stroke lead in their pocket, the Vista PEAK girls golf team had the most enjoyable day of the season April 25.
The Bison were a virtual certainty to win their third straight EMAC championship and fifth straight overall dating back to their days in the Colorado 7, but the league’s second major tournament turned out to be the cherry on top of an outstanding season.
Juniors Kylie Severin and Melissa Cooke enjoyed the rare chance to play together and they both had a great days by shooting 73 and 79, respectively, as part of day that saw Severin win the league’s individual title in addition to the team crown.
“It was so much fun, I always play good when I play with her,” Severin said of Cooke. “We tell each other jokes, laugh a little bit and just play good.”
Playing good has been a major part of the season for coach Amy Severin’s Bison, a senior-less group that has made winning a habit this season.
Kylie Severin came in off a season in which she recorded the Vista PEAK program’s highest-ever state finish a year ago when she tied for fifth in the Class 4A state tournament.
The Bison graduated a multiple-time state qualifier in Kyree Conaway, but the development of Cooke, Marin Head and sisters Charlotte and Ayla Higgins made them strong as a team.
All five Vista PEAK players earned All-EMAC first or second team honors — with Cooke joining Severin on the first team and Head and Higgins on the second team — in a show of force.
With the league title in hand, the Bison next turn their attention to qualifying for this season’s 4A state tournament as a team.
Unlike 5A teams — which ended up in regional state-qualifying tournaments based on the final league standings — Vista PEAK had the advantage of knowing ahead of time which 4A regional it would play in.
The Bison were able to get into the Cougar Classic at Colorado Springs’ Kissing Camels Golf Club, site of the Region 1 tournament. Not only did they play it, they won the team title on a tiebreaker.
Severin was excited about the course because its suits her love of playing longer courses, while Cooke is anxious to erase the memories of last season’s regional performance, during which she shot a 98 and missed the state cut by a stroke.
Shooting a 79 — the first time she broke 80 — at the second league tournament encouraged her.
“Performing well at regionals is something we really want to do,” Cooke said. “Going out there and doing something we’ve been working so hard to do would be big.”
Aurora’s 5A girls golf teams have had up and down seasons, mostly due to inclement weather.
Weather forced the Centennial League to squash four of its five its league tournament into a short window, including the last three in a six-day span. The last tournament came April 29 and had to be cut to nine holes due to impending weather.
When the dust finally cleared, Eaglecrest sophomore Emma Bryant — the defending state champion — collected the individual Centennial League title, as she finished comfortable in front of Grandview’s Amy Chitkoksoong.
Bryant won the league tournament at Broken Tee G.C., tied for first with Chitkoksoong at Aurora Hills G.C. and finished second at Murphy Creek G.C. Chitkoksoong had the best nine-hole score in the final league tournament and paced the Wolves to a third-place team finish.
Bryant and Chitkoksoong both made the All-Centennial League first team (top eight), while they are joined by locals Morgan Ryan of Grandview and Brooke Kramer of Cherokee Trail.
Junior Katie Berrian has had a strong season for Regis Jesuit and fired a 1-under-par 71 to win a Continental League tournament April 25 at Plum Creek Golf Club.
Berrian won or tied for first in every league tournament on the season and also collected a victory at the Cherry Creek Invitational April 22 at CommonGround G.C.
The Raiders — the No. 6 seed from the Continental League for regionals — have also had some strong rounds from junior Skylar Cain.
Courtney Oakes is Sentinel Colorado Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. IG: Sentinel Prep Sports
2019 CLASS 5A/4A AURORA GIRLS GOLF REGIONALS
5A SOUTHERN REGIONAL — May 6, 8 a.m. (shotgun start) at Foothills G.C.
Aurora team: Eaglecrest. Other teams: Cherry Creek (host), Palmer, Northglenn, Brighton, Highlands Ranch, Legend, Lakewood, Rocky Mountain, Legacy, Adams City, Pomona, Mountain Vista, Doherty
5A CENTRAL REGIONAL — May 6, 8 a.m. (shotgun start) at Kennedy G.C.
Aurora teams: Aurora Central, Gateway, Overland. Other teams: Denver East (host), Ralston Valley, Arapahoe, ThunderRidge, Douglas County, Columbine, Rampart, Fossil Ridge, Monarch, Liberty, Fairview
5A NORTHERN REGIONAL — May 6, 8 a.m. (shotgun start), Aurora Hills G.C.
Aurora teams: Grandview, Hinkley. Other teams: Prairie View (host), Rock Canyon, Thornton, Castle View, Heritage, Valor Christian, Chatfield, Fountain-Fort Carson, Broomfield, Horizon, Boulder
5A WESTERN REGIONAL — May 7, 8:30 a.m. (shotgun start) at Tiara Rado G.C.
Aurora teams: Cherokee Trail, Rangeview, Regis Jesuit, Smoky Hill. Other teams: Grand Junction (host), Fruita Monument, Westminster, Chaparral, Arvada West, Pine Creek, Loveland, Mountain Range, Denver South
4A REGION 1 — May 6, 9 a.m. (shotgun start) at Kissing Camels G.C.
Aurora team: Vista PEAK. Other teams: Canon City, Coronado, Mesa Ridge, Mitchell, Cheyenne Mountain, Falcon, Sand Creek, Pueblo Centennial, Pueblo County, Pueblo East, Pueblo South, Pueblo West, Ponderosa