Vail Mountain School golf nabs early success
GRAND JUNCTION — Rome wasn’t built in a day, and the same can be said for Vail Mountain School girls golf.
That said, the foundation for the old Coliseum might be set.
In the first spring as a competitive team, the Gore Rangers took fourth out of 13 at the Chipeta Junior Varsity Invitational in Grand Junction.
“It’s exciting because it’s our first year,” VMS coach Gary Pesso said. “We’ve got 14 girls out for golf, and for a school of VMS’ size, that’s impressive.”
Like soccer and lacrosse, the Gore Rangers are playing up, a 2A school in 3A, the smallest classification in the sport. And VMS has a roster ranging from a veteran or two to newcomers to the sport.
Chloe Pesso is no stranger to the game. With her dad as the coach and bother Oliver, an alumnus of VMS golf, she knows what she’s doing on the links. Pesso paced the Gore Rangers with an 89, tops among all sophomores and tied for fifth overall.
She also had an eagle on a par-4 on Thursday. Yes, Chipeta is a shorter course, but driving a green and one-putting gets your name in the paper, whatever the track.
Alyssa Hilb was fourth among upperclass-people and eighth overall. Lauren Dirvonas and Maria D’Andrea also cracked the top 20.
While soccer and skiing will always rule the day at VMS, there was enough interest come spring that VMS launched a club team last spring and is starting its team this spring in a combination of varsity and JV tournaments this year.
In addition to having a hitting cage and simulator in the school’s gym, the Gore Rangers practice at Eagle Ranch and practice involves just about everything from the basics of gripping a club to etiquette to swing technique.
Yes, the Gore Rangers would like to make some noise at regionals in May at Battlement Mesa, but first things first.
“I would say with the boys, I coach more than I teach,” said Peso, who coaches the gents in the fall. “Here we’re doing more teaching than coaching, and it’s wonderful. We’re trying to make golf the game of a lifetime.”
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, email@example.com and @cfreud.
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Jeff Shiffrin, with his wife, Eileen, made the Vail area their home decades ago, and together raised Mikaela and Taylor Shiffrin, who was a member of the two-time NCAA Champion University of Denver Ski Team.