Valor and Evergreen boys golf teams win Jeffco team titles

LAKEWOOD — Lakewood sophomore Ryan Liao kept tradition going for the Tigers’ boys golf program Thursday afternoon at Fox Hollow Golf Course.

Liao wrapped up the Class 5A Jeffco League individual medalist title with a round of 74 at the final conference tournament of the season. While the sophomore admitted thoughts of winning the title wasn’t at the front of his mind to start the season, but it quickly became a reality.

Valor senior Jake Welch eyes a shot on the Links course Thursday during the Jeffco League finale at Fox Hollow Golf Course in Lakewood. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)

“It was really after my first round at West Woods. That round of 66,” Liao said when he thought he would have a shot at the league title. “I set my standards higher after knowing I could go low.”

It was a three-peat for Lakewood when it came to winning the individual medalist title. Liao joined Lakewood graduates Jack Castiglia (2017) and Griffin Barela (2016) on becoming the third straight Tiger golfer to win the league title.

Lakewood will now head to 5A Northern regional state qualifying tournament Tuesday, Sept. 18, at Murphy Creek Golf Course in Aurora.

“The goal is to get my team to state and hopefully top-10 or top-5 individually at state,” Liao said.

Valor Christian won the 5A Jeffco team title in the Eagles’ first season playing up in 5A. Valor landed three seniors — Jake Welch, Ty Findlow and Trevor White — on the 1st-team all-conference team.

Evergreen junior Clayton Whitton and senior Nolan Miller led the Cougars to the 4A Jeffco League team title. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)

“Our goal (senior) ever since we came in is to win a state championship,” Welch said as Valor heads to the 5A Central regional tournament Monday, Sept. 17, at Legacy Ridge Golf Course in Westminster. “The league title is a little stepping stone toward it.”

Welch shot a 1-over par, 71 at Fox Hollow for the best round of the day for either the 5A and 4A Jeffco golfers.

On the 4A side, Evergreen swept winning the team conference title and the individual medalist crown. The Cougars, 4A state team runner-up last year, won five of six league tournament this season.

Evergreen senior Nolan Miller fired a round of 3-over, par 73 to finish in a tie at Fox Hollow with senior Sam Spiers, who also shot a round of 73. Miller finished a full shot better than junior teammate Clayton Whitton to claim the conference title.

“It means a lot,” Miller said of winning his first individual medalist league title. “I’ve been chasing it for four years. It is finally nice to see the hard work pay off.”

The Cougars head to the 4A Region 3 tournament at the Olde Course at Loveland on Wednesday, Sept. 19. Miller hopes to get a chance to improve on his tie for 38th finish at the 4A state tournament last year.

“I think my game is still getting better. Let’s hope,” Miller said.