Battle Mountain’s Crisofulli wins at Vail | VailDaily.com

Battle Mountain’s Crisofulli wins at Vail

VAIL — Win the Masters, get a green jacket. Win the Vail Mountain School Invitational? Go to Moe's Original Bar B Que? Battle Mountain's Tanner Crisofulli put up a 75 on Tuesday at the Vail Golf Club and that was a winner. So like any teenager, it was time to eat. "I was definitely hungry," Crisofulli said after his trip to Moe's. "I was pretty happy with my round, except for the putting. For the first three holes, I could not make a putt to save my life." Starting on 17, Crisofulli committed the cardinal sin at Vail — being above the pin. That is never good. The level of accompanying disaster depends on the player. For Crisofulli, that was bogey on the par-3 17th, birdie on the par-5 18th and par on the par-4 first. It's not a bad stretch of golf, even par, but the Battle Mountain senior was looking to make hay, read eagle, on the "new" 18th 443-yard par 5, while the first was a birdie opportunity squandered. Crisofulli said his putter got into the swing of things after about six holes and he was on his way to a win. Gotta be the shorts Aspen — big surprise — won the team competition. It's got to be the shorts from Loudmouth Golf. The Skiers have been leaders on the Western Slope when it comes to golf fashion. VMS was just four strokes behind on Tuesday. Oliver Pesso led the Gore Rangers with a 79, while Ben Barron had an 80 and Dylan Hardenbergh came around at 87. Pesso finished fourth with his round, which included birdies on Nos. 11 and 12. "I think today my biggest thing was chipping," the VMS junior said. "I didn't have it today. I need to work on that a little more, getting up and down. I left some shots out there." Durango looming The short game, a little thing that's really not so little, is increasingly becoming the focus for all four local squads. Tuesday's tournament marked just two weeks until the regional tournament down in Durango. Along those lines, Eagle Valley wrapped its JV season on Tuesday. Quinn McCord led the youngsters with a 95. Tanner Caldarola, Jay Bullock, Michael Sandoval, Keaton Fedrizzi and McCord will be the five that Devils coach Tom Buzbee said will make the annual northern swing (Yampa Valley today and Haymaker on Thursday) and battle it out for the four spots on the Eagle Valley regional team. Vail Christian's Cooper Gould is the defending regional champion, but he had a rough Tuesday with an 80. The Saints finished sixth as a team but were without Tony Clark. The senior, who usually vies for the top spot on the Vail Christian team with Gould, is on a college trip. By rotation among the Western Slope teams, regionals are in Durango, a long trip in itself. Combine the state sites for 3A and 4A and state-qualifiers will get a lot of mileage during the next month. The 3A state tournament is up in Sterling, while the best of 4A are headed to Pueblo. Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, cfreud@vaildaily.com and @cfreud.

Tanner Crisofulli lights up Eagle Ranch, Battle Mountain High wins

EAGLE — If you need a fifth in golf, Battle Mountain's Tanner Crisofulli's your guy. OK, usually, you're looking for a fourth, but a team can field five golfers for a high school golf tournament, and Crisofulli wanted to be No. 5 at Eagle Ranch on Monday. "He asked to play (Eagle Ranch)," Huskies coach Cassie Desmone said. "All my kids know the course, but he asked if he could be in the fifth position." And so it was that young Crisofulli went out and fired a 2-under 70, the lowest round by anyone from the four local high schools this season. "Yeah, I love the course," the junior said. "I wasn't expecting 2-under." With that 70, the Huskies won their second tournament of the season with 230 strokes, edging Vail Christian (233) and Basalt (234). Crisofulli said that "everything" was working. He had birdies on all four of Eagle Ranch's par-5s. Crisofulli also took trips to the aviary on the course's two short par-4s, Nos. 4 and 14, which are definite risk-reward holes. "I like the fact that I can hit something beside driver off the tee and still birdie the hole," Crisofulli said of Eagle Ranch. "It's not abnormally long." That said, the field was playing from the blue tees, which measure 6,718 yards. It wasn't like Eagle Ranch was playing as an executive course. The secret to Crisofulli's play was simple, as in the simple that if it really were, anyone could play golf. He missed just one out of 14 fairways. He was perfect on greens in regulation. He had no three-putts. When he ran into trouble, he minimized the damage, avoiding the ugly number. He had four bogeys, and nothing bigger. It's an easy game when you do that. With Crisofulli lighting it up, Taylor Peel's 78 (eighth place) and Michael Thompson's 82 gave the Huskies their first tournament win since their home track, Eagle-Vail, last month. Crisofulli knew he had a good round going, but said he expected some Saints to go low since Eagle Ranch is their loop for practice. Vail Christian did have some nice low numbers with Cooper Gould at 74 (tied for third) and Tony Clark at 76 (tied for fifth), but nobody besides Crisofulli hit red numbers. (Basalt's Tristan Rohrbaugh was at level-par 72). The Saints, with Christian Bohren (83) as their third, did edge out Basalt, 233-234, for top 3A honors. And since regionals are at Gypsum Creek on Tuesday, that's a hot topic of discussion. Speaking of which, 3A Vail Mountain was in the mix at 241. Senior Harrison Alonzo came around in 76 (tied for fifth) and Oliver Pesso's 80 was good for a tie for ninth. Dylan Hardenbergh carded an 85. Tanner Caldarola topped all Eagle Valley golfers with an 86. The four local teams may be sending a few players to Breckenridge Thursday for a final tune-up, but everyone will convene Monday at Gypsum Creek for the official practice round before Tuesday's regional round. Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 and via cfreud@vaildaily.com.

Golf teams ready for regionals

KEYSTONE — They're just getting it out of their systems before regionals. That's Battle Mountain and Vail Christian golf's story and they're sticking to it. Thursday's Summit County Invitational at Keystone Rancg was the last regular-season tournament before regionals Tuesday down in Durango, and it wasn't the best day for the Huskies or the Gore Rangers. Of course, it happens to everyone who's ever played golf — better now than at regionals at the Hillcrest Golf Club down near Four Corners. Tanner Crisofulli had an 84, which is good for most, but likely not to Crisofulli's taste. Charlie Morrow came around in 98, while Jack Nichols carded a 104. Dylan Hardenbergh led VMS with an 86, while Oliver Pesso and Sean Weller both had 89s. Eagle Valley and Vail Christian did not attend, however, the Saints were busier earlier this week with a trip down to Hillcrest on Monday for a tournament. While all four teams will have a practice round on Monday before Tuesday's tournament, we go to Vail Christian's Cooper Gould for the scouting report. "There's a lot more elevation change than you'd expect," the defending 3A regional champ said. "The treelines aren't too dense, but you have to hit the middle of the fairways. The greens are bit tricky, especially on the middle to end of the back nine. It's pretty gettable." Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, cfreud@vaildaily.com and @cfreud.

Golf teams preparing for Tuesday’s regionals

KEYSTONE — They're just getting it out of their systems before regionals. That's Battle Mountain and Vail Christian golf's story and they're sticking to it. Thursday's Summit County Invitational at Keystone Ranch was the last regular-season tournament before regionals Tuesday down in Durango, and it wasn't the best day for the Huskies or the Gore Rangers. Of course, it happens to everyone who's ever played golf — better now than at regionals at the Hillcrest Golf Club down near Four Corners. Tanner Crisofulli had an 84, which is good for most, but likely not to Crisofulli's taste. Charlie Morrow came around in 98, while Jack Nichols carded a 104. Dylan Hardenbergh led VMS with an 86, while Oliver Pesso and Sean Weller both had 89s. Busy, Busy Teams Eagle Valley and Vail Christian did not attend, however, the Saints were busier earlier this week with a trip down to Hillcrest on Monday for a tournament. While all four teams will have a practice round on Monday before Tuesday's tournament, we go to Vail Christian's Cooper Gould for the scouting report. "There's a lot more elevation change than you'd expect," the defending 3A regional champ said. "The treelines aren't too dense, but you have to hit the middle of the fairways. The greens are bit tricky, especially on the middle to end of the back nine. It's pretty gettable." Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, cfreud@vaildaily.com and @cfreud.

Battle Mountain second at home tourney

EAGLE-VAIL — You can't stop Vail Christian's Cooper Gould, you can only hope to contain him. While that's probably hyperbole, the Saints senior is a run. It would be kind of fun if the regional tournament started today. Gould won Thursday's Battle Mountain Invitational with a level-par 71, followed by teammate Tony Clark at 74 and Battle Mountain's Tanner Crisofulli in a logjam with three others at 74. And stop us if you've heard this before, but VMS finished second in the 3A competition behind Aspen, while the Huskies were second in the 4A field. Saints shining Gould made it two wins in as many days, coming off a 68 on Wednesday at Gypsum Creek. He settled in with a birdie on the long par-4 second. He was 2-over after the 10th but started working his way back with red numbers on the par-5 11th and 14th. Gould birdied the 17th, a par-3, before bogeying the home hole. Those three birdies on the back were critical as Aspen's Will Hazen also put up a 71. That put the two in a scorecard playoff, which Gould won with a 35 on the back nine as opposed to Hazen's 36. Clark continued his steady play with a 74. He's gone 78-73-74 in the first three tournaments of the season. No. 4 was Clark's demon on Wednesday. The 127-yard par-3 over the Eagle River stymied many. Clark ended up in the right bunker across the river, but it didn't get any better from there. The senior, however, gets serious credit for righting the ship after that experience. That's more like it Battle Mountain's Crisofulli was not happy with his 87 on Wednesday down in Gypsum during his first outing of the season. He made amends with a 74 on his home course on Thursday. Noting that taking another 13 strokes off his score on Monday in Aspen would put him in some rarified air, he joked, "I don't know about a 61, but, hopefully, somewhere in the 60s." Crisofulli went into the drink on his second hole of the day, No. 4, a theme for the day, but bounced back with a tweeter on No. 5. He nearly drove the green on that 385-yard par-4. "It was a slow swing, and it makes the ball go over the tree and right toward the green," Crisofulli said of his driver on No. 5. While Eagle-Vail can take the driver out of longer hitters' hands, Crisofulli actually let the big dog eat because he's pretty familiar with the loop, having worked there all summer. Three-over going into the back nine, Crisofulli made back-to-back trips to the aviary on Nos. 13 and 14, and spit out pars or better on his final 11 holes. Ho, hum This is a good ho-hum for the Vail Mountain squad. The Gore Rangers keep putting up scores in the 80s. Thursday, it was Oliver Pesso (84), Ben Barron (86) and Sean Weller (89). Not only was that good for second, but the Gore Rangers are showing depth, which might come in handy. "It's really important because we have five players who can go out there and compete and are all very capable of hitting in the 80s and some of us in the 70s," Weller said. "That's very important for us. If two of us have bad days, we can still post three very good scores." Eagle Valley had two freshmen — Michael Sandoval and Keaton Fedrizzi — break 100. "What you tell freshmen is, 'This is your take-a-look year.'" Devils coach Tom Buzbee said. "These kids haven't seen these courses before, and they're all very different. 'Enjoy it. You can put more pressure on yourself in a couple of years.'" Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, cfreud@vaildaily.com and @cfreud.

Golfers open season at Battlement Mesa today

OK, it's not a tradition unlike any other like the Masters in Augusta, Georgia. But the boys golf season on the Western Slope always starts at Battlement Mesa in Parachute with the admonition — don't go left on Nos. 11, 12 and 13. Nerves and birdies should be abundant today. Whether you're a returning veteran or a rookie, the first tournament of the season for Battle Mountain, Eagle Valley, Vail Christian and Vail Mountain is a big deal. Also look for the gents to shake off those nerves as the tourney usually plays from Battlement Mesa's silver tees (6,037 yards), making the par-5s reachable. Class 3A Vail Christian and Vail Mountain should continue their fun rivalry from last fall. Both teams went back and forth at assorted tournaments with the Gore Rangers besting the Saints at regionals and Vail Christian nipping VMS at state. Vail Christian graduated two senior state-qualifiers (Parker Poage and Christian Bohren) while VMS bid goodbye to one, Harrison Alonzo. The defending regional champion is back, though, for the Saints. Cooper Gould is now a senior. He and Tony Clark are the elders statesmen of the squad. Clark fired a 73 and Gould a 75 at this tournament last year, leading the Saints to a 3A win in Parachute last year. (The 2A schools are considered 3A for golf.) Saints coach Chris Coleman has Caleb Chicoine penciled in for the No. 3 spot. Depending on paperwork, always a problem this time of year, Mason Daniels or Max Phannenstiel will be the team's fourth. Either way, the Saints should have reinforcements coming with Craig McGuckin returning to action next week. "I do believe that we have the talent to put together another team for state," Coleman said. "Our goal is always to play consistently throughout the season but to be able to field a team for state." VMS would certainly like to join the Saints at the Northeastern Golf Course in Sterling. Oliver Pesso and Dylan Hardenbergh are state returnees. Sean Weller, Ben Barron and Tyler Hancock round out today's five. The Gore Rangers have been working on their short game this week, in addition to tryouts, and there is a quiet confidence in Camp VMS. "I don't want to measure success, by how many we qualify for state," VMS coach Ross Sappenfield said. "It's how well they improve and how well the team works together. With a cohesive hard-working group, we could advance pretty far." Vail Christian and Vail Mountain should be in the hunt all season for the 3A Slope title with Aspen and Basalt. Class 4A Battle Mountain golf brings back three seniors in Tanner Crisofulli, Ryan Hanson and Jack Nichols. Master Crisofulli, who should be the team's No. 1, won't be back in town until Wednesday's tournament at Gypsum Creek, so sophomores Miles Joersz, Taylor Staughton and Creek Kamby will be at Battlement Mesa with Hanson and Clark. Also look out for juniors Mycah Huang and Grifen Connor, who played their way onto the team this week in tryouts. Down in Gypsum, sophomore Tanner Caldarola was the huge surprise at regionals, shooting an 80 to qualify for last year's state tournament as a freshman. That's a big bonus as the Devils are the young side. Freshman Michael Sandoval and Carter Coleman, and sophomores Aidan Sokup and Dalton Bartholy get the call today. As is traditional, Eagle Valley coach Tom Buzbee won't call them the black, red, white and silver teams this year, but he said he will play different players in different tournaments, depending on how the competition is going during practice. Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, cfreud@vaildaily.com and @cfreud.

Saints’ Gould takes down Gypsum Creek

GYPSUM — Vail Christian's Cooper Gould describes his relationship with the Gypsum Creek Golf Course as "love-hate." But it's really got to be leaning toward the love side lately. After shooting a 71 to win the 3A regional title last fall at the Pete Dye course, the Saints senior returned on Wednesday with a 4-under 68 to beat all comers — 3A or 4A — at the Eagle Valley Invitational. "I've played it enough to have a good idea of the layout and where to hit it and not to hit it," Gould said. "I've gotten accustomed to some of the shots and try to feed off previous good rounds." While Gould and teammate Tony Clark (73) led the 3A ranks individually, Vail Mountain School topped the local schools with a 242, second behind Aspen (235) in the 3A race and ahead of Vail Christian (248). "Our team is coming together," said VMS' Ben Barron, who led the Gore Rangers with a 79. "As our players have come up into high school, we're getting better and better each year. I'm really happy with that." Another cause for satisfaction is that VMS is packing its golfers in, so far this year. Barron had a 79, followed by Oliver Pesso (81) and Sean Weller (82). Dylan Hardenbergh carded an 87 and Tyler Hancock came around in 89. The only other two schools to have all five players under 90 on Wednesday were Montrose and Steamboat Springs, the teams that went 1-2 in the 4A competition. Meanwhile, Gould was throwing darts all over the course. He had five tweeters against just one bogey, the latter caused by a wide-left tee shot on No. 5. His round was a study in course management. Gould pulled driver only twice — the front nine's par-5s. Most impressively, he took down the mesa — holes 13-17 — in 2-under. He birdied the par-5 uphill 13th with a 5-iron off the tee, followed by his 6-iron, good chip and a putt. He got another red number with a 260-yard 3-iron off the 14th tee, leaving a nice wedge into that small green. He almost birdied the monstrous par-5 15 but missed a 6-foot putt, settling for a good par. In all of this, don't forget Clark. He followed up a team best 78 in the season opener at Battlement Mesa on Thursday with a sleek 73 on Wednesday. What Vail Christian needs is a third golfer for scoring purposes. Those may come as the season progresses with Crane McGuckin and Mason Daniels. Battle Mountain took third among the 4A squads with a 250. Ryan Hanson led the way with an 80, followed by Wyatt Dilling (83) and Tanner Crisofulli (87). For Crisofulli, that was his first outing of the season, so look for that number to drop. Eagle Valley's Keaton Fedrizzi was the pleasant surprise for the Devils with an 87. Tanner Caldarola, the team's lone returning state-qualifier, carded a 90. Today, the show shifts to Eagle-Vail, where again driver might not be the best idea off the tee. Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, cfreud@vaildaily.com and @cfreud.

Saints, Gore Rangers sending teams to state

DURANGO — Vail did well at Tuesday's regional tournament down at Hillcrest Golf Club in Durango. More specifically, Vail Christian edged Vail Mountain School for second place, 246-252, but who really cares? Both the Saints and Gore Rangers are sending teams to state — Cooper Gould, Tony Clark and Mason Daniels for Vail Christian; and Dylan Hardenbergh, Oliver Pesso and Ben Barron for VMS. And having qualified in a tournament held in the southwest of the state in Durango, they all get to go to Northeastern 18 in Sterling in two weeks. And despite this geographic juxtaposition, there was much rejoicing on the ride home. Be like Tristan No one's going to feel sorry for the Saints' Cooper Gould. He shot a 74 on a day in Durango where scores ballooned. There was nothing even resembling drama as to whether the defending 3A regional champion would make the state tournament. But he did want to repeat as regional champ. Gould had 185 yards to go on the 18th and he used what he calls a "baby" 6-iron, but it didn't fade. He was left of the green and had short-sided himself in a tough lie — chip, two-putt for a bogey and regional title to Aspen's Trey Robinson. Bummer. But then again, there's something to be said for being second out of this region. "I was pretty disappointed, but I wanted to be like Tristan, Tristan Rohrbaugh from Basalt," Gould said. "I beat him at regionals last year and he went on to win state. That's the mindset." This is easy? VMS' Dylan Hardenbergh doesn't talk much. His game does the talking for him. And the sophomore is making this state-qualifying thing look easy. He's 2-for-2 so far on regional Tuesday. He shot an 80 at Gypsum Creek last year to get to state, and this year a steady 81. Hardenbergh used the practice round at Hillcrest, pretty much an unknown course to most from the four local teams, to figure out where to hit the greens on approaches. A lot of times, that meant not going for the pin. And that led to eight pars and 10 bogeys. The latter may sound like a lot, but avoiding the big ugly was the key to the day. Slow and steady won the race for the sophomore. "I only thought about state when it was done," Hardenbergh said. "I wasn't really thinking about it throughout my round." No pins and needles Last year, Tony Clark experienced the great Vail Christian tradition of being an alternate. The Saints have specialized in being alternates (Robby Bowles, Clark and Parker Poage), who ended up getting the call from CHSAA that they, in fact, were going to state. It's not fun. Clark took care of any doubts with an 84 on Tuesday and is in state. No passing Go. No collecting $200. "It feels good," Clark said. "I'm so blessed to get out there and play golf and keep playing it after regionals. It's definitely a nice feeling." Clark had a choppy start, doubling the first, followed by bogeys on nos. 2 and 3. He righted the ship with three pars in a row and birdie on No. 7. Driver — good or bad? On the other end of the spectrum, VMS' Oliver Pesso got off to a great start. He went out in 40, just 5-over par on a day when nobody in 3A or 4A came within three strokes of red numbers. Pesso was only 6-over through 12, and then came a triple on the par-4 13th and a double on the par-3 14th. "I put my driver away," Pesso said. "It kept on going right." Bad driver. Bad. However, with the finishing par-4 playing at 447 yards, Pesso had to pull the big dog, and this time, when he really needed it, the driver behaved. Good driver. Good. Pesso went on to make par on the home hole and card an 84. No way "I am in shock that I am going to state," VMS' Ben Barron said. "I had a really nice start and three or four holes of bleh." Yes, that is a technical golf term. Bleh means "triple, bogey, double and I think my trip to state is going down the tubes." "I just had to focus on the home stretch. Coach Sapp has helped me with that," Barron said of VMS' Ross Sappenfield. "I can't focus on the bad. From there, I hit one stellar drive and that brought me back." So why did Barron think he was in serious trouble? This isn't the PGA tour with scoreboards everywhere. Barron thought his score of 87 wasn't close. After all, Vail Christian's Poage and Clark shot 81 and 82 at Gypsum Creek and were alternates last year. Even with more clarity on the 18th, Sappenfield thought Barron had to par the home hole just to make the cut. Barron parred it and still had two strokes to spare. Bogey and par The confusion of the end of a regional tournament continued with the Saints' Mason Daniels. His coach, Chris Coleman, told him that he needed a bogey and a par on nos. 17 and 18. "I kind of figured that it was settled," Daniels said. "He told me bogey and par, and I thought bogey and par would be a nice way to end my high school career." Yo, Mason, what coach Coleman meant was that combination makes for a state bid. Daniels thought, like many before him, that everyone else was playing better and didn't account for score inflation, inevitable at the make-or-break regional tourney. Daniels got his bogey and par for an 89 and he is going to state after four years of varsity golf. Regional heartbreak In the 4A ranks, Eagle Valley edged Battle Mountain, 270-273. The Devils' Tanner Caldarola shot an 85 and is the second alternate for state. Second alternates have made state before, but nothing is guaranteed. For the Huskies, Tanner Crisofulli had a nightmare of a front nine, capped by a nine on the seventh — he was hitting five off the tee after two shots went O.B. Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, cfreud@vaildaily.com and @cfreud.

Huskies, Saints, VMS in hunt at Gypsum Creek

GYPSUM — If Wednesday's Eagle Valley Invite golf tournament is anything like what regionals might be like, let's go. Sept. 17 — Gypsum Creek Golf Course, be there. On the 4A front, Battle Mountain finished fourth and had some scores which might punch a ticket or two to state, while Eagle Valley defended its home course nicely. The 3A race continues to bubble with intrigue. Vail Mountain nipped Vail Christian, 242-244, Wednesday, with Basalt (245) and Aspen (247) right behind. And your leader in the clubhouse for 4A Western Slope top honors is Cortez's Hayden Plewe. The kid may be from the Four Corners, but one has to give it up for a 71. The top score in 3A? Well, it's a nice mess. Vail Christian's Cooper Gould and Basalt's Tristan Rohrbaugh and Peter Steckler all carded 78s, and, as we'll see, there's a lot of local flavoring just off that number. Most of VMS is in that category. All five Gore Rangers were in the 80s. Oliver Pesso had an 80, as did Ben Barron. For Barron, that's a tournament best. Harrison Alonzo finished with an 82 for the team's three scorers. Alonzo hit the stick for a near ace on his last hole of the of the day, No. 3. This is a convenient way of working in the fact that Battle Mountain's Tanner Crisofulli actually did have an ace on No. 7 on Monday at Lakota Canyon. That was a 9-iron for 180 yards. According to sources, he did not buy the Huskies Cokes. (Get on that, young man.) Back to VMS, Sean Weller came home in 87, followed by Dylan Hardenbergh. Of the 23 teams among 4A and 3A, the Gore Rangers were just one of three squads (Steamboat and Cortez, who went 1-2 in 4A) to have their varsity crew at 90 and fewer. "All the varsity players have been bouncing back from frustrating holes amazingly well," VMS coach Ross Sappenfield said. "They have incredible resilience. The word I love to use is grit. This is a gritty team." And if VMS goes on to greater glory, will the film about the Gore Rangers star John Wayne? Just asking. Speaking of grit, Vail Christian's Parker Poage showed that quality in spades Wednesday. Poage had a nightmare of a 96 at Eagle-Vail on Tuesday. After possibly spending the night in the fetal position, murmuring, "Red-rum, red-run," Poage was back in fine form with a 79. Gould led the Saints with 78, while Christian Bohren had an 86. Battle Mountain's Taylor Peel made it two days in a row in the 70s with a 79. The Huskies' Michael Thompson logged one of his best varsity rounds (81) and Lukas Kern also had a serious bounce-back day with an 82. That was 14 strokes better than his round Tuesday at Eagle-Vail. "We did pretty well," Huskies coach Cassie Desmone said. "We could have a couple of individuals make (it to) state with those scores." For the host Devils, it was Justin Hollis (84), Kyatt Johnson (85) and Tanner Caldarola (89). "I like those three scores," said Devils coach Tom Buzbee, who gets a gold star for hosting a tournament with 22 teams. "We'll take them to Rifle and then readjust the scoring averages. Those three names, they seem to be able to protect their spots on varsity." The marathon of four tournaments in as many days concludes today at Rifle. Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or via cfreud@vaildaily.com.

Vail Mountain’s Pesso falls short in playoff

NEW CASTLE, Colorado – Oliver Pesso said it felt like a PGA event. Pesso, a Vail Mountain School freshman, and Aspen’s Clayton Crawford, a junior, went head to head in a playoff for medalist honors at Tuesday’s Lakota Canyon Ranch Golf Club-hosted boys golf tournament. In the end, Pesso’s 20-foot birdie try on the playoff hole – par-4 No. 10 – narrowly missed its mark. Crawford followed with a tap-in for birdie to capture the individual title at Coal Ridge High School’s annual tourney. “I felt like I was in the PGA,” Pesso said, “with everybody watching and that intense putt. I wish I made it. When I putted, I thought I made it.” So did Crawford, who watched nervously as Pesso’s putt nearly dropped into the cup. “It burned the edge,” Crawford said with a grin. “I thought he had it. … I didn’t want to have to go to another one with him putting like that.” Both shot 3-over-par 75s in regulation, setting the stage for the afternoon’s playoff theatrics. The playoff was a learning experience for the young Pesso, who faced a substantial size disadvantage against Crawford. “You have to keep cool and stay in the game, especially when a guy 6-2 can outpower you and is a junior,” said the 5-foot-1 1/2 Pesso. “He can put it on the green with a wedge. I have like a 5-iron in hand or whatever.” Crawford and the Skiers wound up winning the team title with a score of 243. Rifle took second (245), Montrose third (248), Vail Mountain fourth (251) and Summit fifth (252). Bartels, Quigley pace Rifle Danny Bartels shot an 80 and Triston Quigley carded an 81 to help Rifle to second place as a team at Lakota. Both efforts went down as top-five individual finishes as well. “It was a long day,” Bears coach Jordan Smith said. “The course was playing really wet and the kids had a hard time putting. We just came off Bookcliff [Monday] and the greens were super fast there. It took the kids a long time to adjust to the slower greens today.” Still, the Bears fared well as part of an eight-team field. Ty Caron (84), Teig Hauer (86), Wyatt Carter (87) and Cody Capwell (92) also turned in rounds for Rifle, which will host a Friday tournament at Rifle Creek Golf Course. A shotgun start will gets things under way there at 9 a.m. Scott leads Coal Ridge Tyler Scott’s 89 paced Coal Ridge at its home tourney. Cassidy Lawrence (92), Cole Duplesys (100), Michael Moser (102) and Riley Tamborello (107) rounded out the Titans’ scores. Coal Ridge coach Jemiah Fowler has seen his program grow by leaps and bounds from last season to this one. He’s up from four golfers to 12. “We have a decent little core,” he said, noting that Lakota Canyon’s been accommodating in terms of letting players on the course to practice. “Being able to come up here and practice every day is huge.” jcaspersen@postindependent.com