Ralston Valley girls golf places 2nd to Cherry Creek at 5A Western Regional

LAKEWOOD — Ralston Valley’s girls golf team was going after its third straight Class 5A Western Regional title Monday at Fox Hollow Golf Course.

However, Cherry Creek had a different plan. The Bruins dominated the tournament with all four players — Payton Canon, Kaylynn Xia, Rachel Penzenstadler and Alyssa Chin — all shooting rounds in the 70s to give Cherry Creek the team title with a team score of 229.

Ralston Valley junior Lexi Mueldener hits a chip on her second hole during the 5A Western Regional on Monday at Fox Hollow Golf Course in Lakewood. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)

“I hope it’s motivating for them,” Ralston Valley coach Wendy Davies said after having to settle for second place in the team standings with a score of 249, which just edged out ThunderRidge by a single stroke. “Cherry Creek played amazing. All props to them.”

Ralston Valley junior Sydney Eye, who struggled a little bit at regionals last year, was the Mustangs’ top golfer firing a round of 5-over-par, 77 to place her tied for fifth in the individual standings.

Eye was upset that she couldn’t gather in some birdies on her back-nine. The junior, who finished tied for ninth at the 5A state tournament last and was the 5A Jeffco League individual medalist his season, parred her final six holes Monday on the Meadows course.

“You can’t complain about a par, but I had so many birdie opportunities,” Eye said. “It happens, 77 isn’t bad, but it’s not great.”

Cherokee Trail senior Brooke Kramer took the medalist title Monday with a 1-over-par, 73. She edged out Broomfield sophomore Meghan Vogt by a stroke.

Ralston Valley junior Allie Nocera watches her drive on the Links at Fox Hollow Golf Course in Monday. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)

Fellow junior Lexi Mueldener shot a round of 10-over-par, 82 to finish 10th in the individual standings. Juniors Allie Nocera (90) and Sophie Nelsen (92) competed in their first regional tournament for the Mustangs.

“If we play like that (at state) it will be tough for us to place as high as we would like at state,” Davies said. “I think it’s about a little more focus and a little more preparation. We have a few weeks to do that.”

Ralston Valley won its first-ever 5A girls golf state team title last year with then seniors Jordan Remley and Riley McKibbon helping to lead the way. Remley currently plays at the University of Wyoming.

“The team aspect has been different since we lost Riley (McKibbon) and Jordan (Remley),” Eye admitted.

Ralston Valley did grab the automatic team qualifier finishing second at regionals. The Mustangs have the advantage of having Eye and Mueldener both placing in the top-10 at state last year coming back.

Chatfield freshman Isabelle DiNapoli is headed to the state tournament after her round of 93 at regionals. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)

“I think it helps a lot, but I think we need to get our No. 3 (Nocera) and No. 4 (Nelsen) more comfortable playing in these big tournaments,” Eye said. “I think next year we’ll be better and more comfortable.”

The 5A state tournament will be May 21 and 22 at Boulder Country Club. While Ralston Valley was very familiar with the state venue of The Club at Rolling Hills in Golden last season, Eye admits she has never played this year’s state course.

“Going in kind of blind is always hard,” Davies said of playing at the Boulder Country Club. “But we have played multiple courses where we’ve gone in blind and played really well. They have enough confidence that it doesn’t matter the course.”

There was one other Jeffco golfer to qualify for state out of the Western Regional. Chatfield freshman Isabelle DiNapoli shot a round of 93 to get her into the state field.

Ralston Valley junior Sydney Eye is looking to improve on her 9th place finish last year at the Class 5A state tournament. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)