Randy Smith knows his Grandview boys golf team has the talent this season, so he’s hoping a cautious approach can make the most of it.
The Wolves secured the fourth spot in the Centennial League last season behind Cherry Creek, Mullen and Arapahoe and with two players with state tournament experience and some rising youngsters, appears to have returning talent to keep or better that spot.
Smith doesn’t see a lot of margin for error in the league, so he’s preaching smart golf in 2012.
“If we are going to be successful this year, we’re going to have to really stick to our game plan; we can’t be a team that can really take chances,” Smith said ahead of the opening league tournament Aug. 9 at Meadow Hills.
“We’ve got to play high percentage golf 100 percent of the time. I’m going to be measuring us as far as consistency, so if we can rely on good decisions and can count on each other to make the right decisions, that’s where we’ll be successful,” he said.
Smith will be looking for solid No. 4 and No. 5 golfers to emerge in support of his core of seniors Chris Magoon and Randy Urso and junior Devyn Solano.
Magoon is the team’s lone returning state qualifier from last season — and along with Regis Jesuit’s Cole Cunningham the only Aurora golfers who played in last season’s state tournament — while Urso made it to state as both a freshman and sophomore.
Magoon — also a member of Grandview’s outstanding baseball team — finished plus-29 at last season’s state tournament at Grand Junction’s Bookcliff Country Club. He is eager to make it to the site of this season’s state tournament, Rolling Hills in Golden.
“State is a whole new experience; it’s a lot of fun and there’s a lot of competitive air,” said Magoon, who believes Grandview could take a team to state this season.
Urso tied for 43rd as a freshman at state and 59th as a sophomore, but missed qualifying last season. He was consistently in the top 10 of league tournaments, fired a round of 69 and garnered first team All-Centennial League honors, but struggled at regionals and fell four strokes short of a state bid.
Solano also had a strong season — including a second place finish in his first-ever league tournament — only to see an 82 at regionals keep him out of state.
Junior Dylan Sahm should strengthen Grandview’s lineup.
Fifth-place finisher Cherokee Trail didn’t have a state qualifier last season, so coach Troy Flores is looking for improvement from returning players.
Juniors Ben Knapp and Dave Matthews and senior Ben John represent the majority of the Cougars experience.
Smoky Hill coach Keith McElreath couldn’t ask for more experience, as he has four senior players at the top of his lineup. Coming off a last-place finish in the Centennial League in 2011, McElreath is “cautiously optimistic” about making a jump this season.
Joey Cleveland was the Buffaloes’ most consistent player last season and McElreath expects more of the same, while Joe Klotz, Mitchell Robben and Blake Spencer round out the veteran lineup.
Eaglecrest is primarily young outside of senior Jeff Stenisha and juniors Isaiah Dixon and Justin Tyler, so coach Stan Adams needs other golfers to improve if the Raptors hope to move up.
Overland’s numbers are low, but senior Joe Slocum shot in the 70s at two league tournaments a year ago and gives coach Bert Dalton legitimate potential for at least one state qualifier. The Trailblazers’ last state player was Jonathan Park, who was fifth in 2009.
In the EMAC, Rangeview has a young core bolstered by the arrival of freshmen Raymond Simunjuntak and Jonathan Kim.
Simunjuntak is a CGJA-experienced golfer who coach Merlin Johnson believes has the game to make a run at getting to state, while Kim is the younger brother of former Rangeview star Josh Kim, the EMAC individual champion and a state qualifier in 2010.
The Raiders also have back sophomore Luke Robinson and junior Tyler Hayes.
Gateway coach Brian Dossey has some known quantities in seniors Cole Harding — last season’s MVP — and Cody Coldiron, while he hopes for surprises from a larger group of golfers.
Daniel Del Real again gives a small Hinkley squad a leader.
Vista PEAK is starting its first varsity season as part of the Colorado 7 conference, with Michael Dougherty at the helm. The 3-year-old school won’t have seniors until next year, so Dougherty has a group primarily made up of juniors and sophomores.
“The goal is to waste no time in making a statement,” said Dougherty, whose team makes its debut on Aug. 14 in Elizabeth.
Reach Sports Editor Courtney Oakes at firstname.lastname@example.org or 303-750-7555
2012 AURORA BOYS GOLFERS TO WATCH
Joey Cleveland, Smoky Hill, sr.; Cody Coldiron, Gateway, sr.; Cole Cunningham, Regis Jesuit, sr.; Daniel Del Real, Hinkley, sr.; Isaiah Dixon, Eaglecrest, jr.; Cole Harding, Gateway, sr.; Ben John, Cherokee Trail, sr.; Jonathan Kim, Rangeview, fr.; Joe Klotz, Smoky Hill, sr.; Ben Knapp, Cherokee Trail, jr.; Chris Korte, Regis Jesuit, jr.; Cody Leis, Regis Jesuit, sr.; Chris Magoon, Grandview, sr.; Dave Matthews, Cherokee Trail, jr.; Nick Miller, Regis Jesuit, sr.; Spencer Painton, Regis Jesuit, jr.; Mitchell Robben, Smoky Hill, sr.; Luke Robinson, Rangeview, soph.; Dylan Sahm, Grandview, jr.; Raymond Simanjuntak, Rangeview, fr.; Joe Slocum, Overland, sr.; Devyn Solano, Grandview, jr.; Blake Spencer, Smoky Hill, sr.; Jeff Stenisha, Eaglecrest, sr.; Justin Tyler, Eaglecrest, jr.; Randy Urso, Grandview, sr.; Mitchell Votry, Rangeview, jr.