WINDSOR — Neither rain, nor snow, nor sleet or cold temperatures can keep Hailey Schalk from her appointed rounds.
The Holy Family junior, who won back-to-back titles at Class 3A in 2017 and 2018, bumped up a classification with the Tigers and hasn't skipped a beat.
On Monday at Pelican Lakes Golf Club, in the bitterly cold temperatures and constant precipitation, Schalk was as comfortable as could be en route to her even par round of 72. It will be good enough for a five shot lead over Mullen freshman Sofia Choi and six ahead of Vista PEAK's Kylie Severin when they play together on Tuesday morning starting at 9 a.m.
"I've played in it a lot, honestly, and some pretty bad conditions, so that really kind of helps me when I come out here with this," said Schalk, whose father Matt Schalk — the head professional at Colorado National — is the Tigers coach and was with her almost every brutally cold step of the day. "When we started, it was 30 degrees and sleeting; and I though if it was going to be like that the whole time, it was going to be crazy.
"But it died down. And it really doesn't mess with me that much."
The scary thing is that Schalk left a lot out on the course. Even in the horrible conditions, she managed to hit 16 of 18 greens and just had one birdie -- on the short par-4 No. 8 — to show for her efforts.
On a day when par was a fantastic score, Schalk was quick to point out the missed opportunities.
"I can think back to at least two or three easy putts that I should have made," said Schalk, who had four straight birdie putts on Nos. 15-18 within 12 feet — including six feet on the difficult finishing hole — that burned the edge. "They were putts that weren't asking that much either."
Having been in the drivers seat in the past, Schalk understands how to get it done on Day Two, and that being said, her approach on Tuesday is somewhere between conservative and aggressive.
"There just weren't too many mistakes today," she said. "And I think if I play that way tomorrow and get a few more putts to go in, I think it'll be a good round."
The host Windsor Wizard's got off to a great start in the team race, firing a cumulative 253 that is good enough for a 21 shot lead over Niwot. Four teams are bunched up rounding out the top five, Durango (289), Littleton (290) and both Evergreen and Coronado (292) will all try to stay within shouting distance of the top two teams.
Windsor coach Kenny Anderson's foursome of Jessica Zapf (79), Kinsey Smith (85), Brynn Ellis (89) and Sarah Johnson (89) will have the home course advantage on their side, but they all know and understand that the weather is the great equalizer and that anything can happen on Tuesday.
"One thing I told them was to expect the worst, and if it is better than the worst, then you are okay. It was bad at times ... but it cleared up and it really wasn't that bad," said Anderson, a former baseball skipper at nearby University High in Greeley. "The golf course played super long. It is about 5,800 on the scorecard, but really with the temperature and the elements, closer to 6,300, so that makes Haiely's score even more incredible.
"Based on what we do, let's win Day One and if something happens, don't be behind. We won Day One, now we go win tomorrow, and if we do that, we will be in pretty good shape. The girls hung in there and yeah, it is a home course and we had some advantages with some certain things, but we battled the elements and are in good shape. We did what we needed to do today and hopefully tomorrow we do the same."