The future looks bright for Aurora in girls golf, as only one of the five members of the 2022 Sentinel Colorado All-Aurora Girls Golf Team — which is based on results from the Class 5A state tournament — is a senior.
That one upperclassman is Devin Gilbreath, part of a contingent of three players from Cherokee Trail to make up the top fivesome along with junior Bead Boonta and freshman Kaleigh Babineaux, while the city’s top group is rounded by Eaglecrest junior Savanna Becker and Regis Jesuit junior Ella Denslow.
Coach Justin Jajcyzk’s Cherokee Trail had an outstanding season that saw it win multiple tournaments — including one in Centennial League play — with a group that included an influx of young talent around two players with previous state experience in Boonta and Gilbreath, who are repeat All-Aurora performers.
Boonta finished in sixth place at the state tournament as a sophomore and threatened to win another medal with a top-10 finish, but she ended up 11th in play at the challenging The Olde Course at Loveland. Boonta was 13th after the opening round and shot three strokes better in the second.
Gilbreath shot one stroke higher in her second round than the opener, but still improved on her 2021 state place by five positions as the Regis University signee finished in a tie for 27th place.
Babineaux and fellow frosh Haylee Clark gave Cherokee Trail a serious boost in competitiveness and Babineaux turned in the top result of the duo at the state tournament as she tied for 38th. She finished with the same score and place as Grandview sophomore Caroline Ryan, but earned the All-Aurora nod after she made the All-Centennial League first team during the regular season along with Boonta and Gilbreath.
The trio contributed to Cherokee Trail’s sixth-place state finish, which led three scoring Aurora teams in the final standings and also marked a rise of three spots at state from the previous season. During the regular season, the Cougars won the Bruin Invitational and the Centennial League meet at Aurora Hills G.C.
Becker is another returning member of the All-Aurora Girls Golf Team from 2021 and she ended up as the city’s second-highest finisher in the state standings when she came in 22nd.
The left-handed swinger surged up the leaderboard in the second round of her second state tournament as she improved by 10 strokes with an 80 that matched Boonta for the best scored achieved by any of Aurora’s 13 qualifiers in either round.
Becker took over a leadership role for coach John Olander’s Raptors with the graduation of Emma Bryant, a former state champion who is now playing at the University of Denver.
Denslow was one of four Regis Jesuit players to qualify for this season’s state tournament and one of three of coach Charlie Rutenbeck’s Raiders with no previous state experience.
Once she got there, she played evenly over two days. Denslow’s consecutive rounds of 90 put her in a tie for 36th place overall. Her best result in the regular season was at the Heather Cho Memorial tournament, when she shot 83 to tie for 8th place, and she qualified for state with a round of 89 at the Northern Regional.
Courtney Oakes is Sentinel Colorado Sports Editor. Reach him at [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. IG: Sentinel Prep Sports
2022 SENTINEL COLORADO ALL-AURORA GIRLS GOLF TEAM
First team: Kaleigh Babineaux, fr., Cherokee Trail; Savanna Becker, jr., Eaglecrest; Bead Boonta, jr., Cherokee Trail; Ella Denslow, jr., Regis Jesuit; Devin Gilbreath, sr., Cherokee Trail;
Honorable mention: Allie Arritola, jr., Grandview; Haylee Clark, fr., Cherokee Trail; Caroline Gardland, sr., Smoky Hill; Courtney Ladymon, jr., Grandview; Georgia Meysman-Sharpe, jr., Regis Jesuit; Caitlin Neumann, jr., Regis Jesuit; Caroline Ryan, soph., Grandview; Audrey Whitmore, fr., Regis Jesuit