The conclusion of the 2013 Class 3A boys state championship saw The Dawson School Mustangs hoisting the team state championship. Led by Cole Folwell and Cameron Conner, the Mustangs finished with a total score of 445 over the two-day tournament, 26 strokes ahead Peak to Peak and Lutheran who tied for second place.
Entering this season, the Mustangs have every intention of defending their state championship. Despite losing Conner, The Dawson School returns Folwell and sophomore Yale Kim, who shot 10-over at state and finishing 10th in the individual field.
"We are going to be defending our state championship based on how Cole and Yale play," coach Arnold Lewis. "It's absolutely up to them."
Lewis considers Folwell to be a favorite for the individual title as well as the foundation for a back-to-back team championship for the Mustangs.
After round one of the state championship, Folwell was tied with Conner for first. He sat two strokes ahead of eventual individual champion Tristan Rohrbaugh. Rohrbaugh shot a 71 on the second day and Folwell finished his second round with a 77.
"I had somewhat been in contention my sophomore year, but the biggest thing I learned last year is that I was way too intense, way too caught up in results," Folwell said. "I just forgot to go out and play. I think just have to have fun this year."
Folwell won't be the only one hoping to learn from last year's state meet. Kim returns as a sophomore to build off an impressive freshman campaign. Kim — who resides in South Korea with his family in the summer — lives with his uncle and honed his skills at the driving range as getting access to quality courses wasn't easy for him growing up.
"I think access to public golf courses in South Korea is cost prohibitive. He told me that to get on a decent course, it costs four or five hundred dollars," Lewis said. "He puts the time in at the driving range, he goes to one of those double-decker, triple-decker places and just works and works."
Lewis is impressed at Kim's ability to compete at this level despite not always having resources that have become available to him in the United States and is excited about what the youngster will provide to the team this season.
He's also excited about what another senior is going to bring to the roster. Peter Teegardin joins Folwell as the other senior captain of the squad and will prove to be an integral part of a team looking to defend its title.
Teegardin should have no problem phasing into the four-man squad as he and Folwell play together often.
"I play with Peter a lot because we're members at the same golf course," Folwell said. "I've been giving him some mental tips because he's a good player. He's got a good swing, he has a good short game, he has everything he needs, he just needs to put it all together."
Practice begins this week for the Mustangs as they tee off Aug. 14 at the Eaton Invitational to begin their 2014 season.
Class 3A boys golf
2013 individual champion: Tristan Rohrbaugh, Basalt
Defending team champion: Dawson School
Returning All-State athletes: Behrod Keshtavar (Sr.) Peak to Peak, Cole Flowell (Sr.) Alexander Dawson, Yale Kim (So.) Alexander Dawson, Gary Schlatter (Sr.) Kent Denver
Regular season begins: Aug. 7
Regionals: Completed by Sept. 19
State meet: Sept. 29-30