Fall prep preview: Vail Mountain School golf | VailDaily.com

Fall prep preview: Vail Mountain School golf

After finishing third at state in 2021, Gore Rangers bring back everyone

The Gore Rangers return all four of their starters from last year's third-place state team.
Adriana Gillett/Courtesy photo

“We lost a lot of seniors,” is a worn out phrase for coaches entering the annual pre-season cycle of tryouts and self-scouting reports. Thankfully, Will Sipf won’t have to use it when speaking about his Vail Mountain School golf squad.

“After finishing fifth two years ago and third last year, without losing a player, we should be very competitive come regionals and state championship time,” the coach said.

That’s right. VMS didn’t lose a single stud to graduation.

Seniors Felix Gruner and Hunter Salani return, as do juniors Tiki Jaffe and Stewie Bruce. All four competed for the Gore Rangers at regionals and states the last two years.

“Gruner has had a very solid summer in the various tournaments he has played in and consistently has been shooting the mid to low 70s, which is fantastic,” Sipf noted.

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“Tiki has been playing solid as well.”

Vail Mountain School opened up the season Aug. 5 at the Cedaredge Invitational and was victorious as a team on Aug. 18 at the Devils Thumb Invitational.
Adriana Gillett/Courtesy photo

Currently, Salani and Bruce are in New Zealand attending ski camps and FIS races. Their absences, however, have allowed the Gore Rangers to demonstrate depth.

Brady Malbeouf, Henry Andrie and Miles Rucker are all juniors who have been fighting for the fourth spot in the past season. Sipf expects them to do the same this year. Additionally, Carter and Everett Gillett, two transfer students, have started the year at a high level. At the Skiers Invitiational in Aspen last Monday, Everett shot a 79 to lead the team and Carter posted the second-best round with an 83.

“They are both very solid players and are a great addition to the team thus far,” Sipf said.

VMS has already contested four tournaments, including a team win at the Devils Thumb Invitational on Aug. 18. For Sipf and Co. these regular-season tournaments are just about figuring out the top four who will compete at the all-important regional at River Valley Ranch in Carbondale on Sept. 20.

“In all honesty, the only tournament that means truly anything prior to state is regionals,” Sipf stated.

The top-two teams at regions advance all four players to the state championships Oct. 3-4 at Pinehurst Country Club in Denver. Teams finishing outside the top two can still qualify a team as long as three or four individuals are in the top 15 places (after eliminating the eight players representing the first and second-place teams).

“So, regionals is a very important day to play well to ensure we get to participate as a team at the state championship,” the coach aptly stated.

The 3A Region 4 Tournament is slated for Sept. 20 in Carbondale.
Adriana Gillett/Courtesy photo

Within the league, Sipf expects to face stiff competition from Kent Denver, Colorado Academy, Basalt, Aspen, Peak to Peak and Montezuma Cortez. He said the team’s focus, however, is on the bigger picture.

“There are a handful of very good 3A teams this year, but our sights are set on doing our absolute best to win the state championship,” he stated.

“That is our goal without a doubt.” 

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