Consistent Basalt High boys golf team finishes sixth at 3A state tournament
BOULDER — At no point this season was the Basalt High School boys golf team particularly bad. At the same time, they never quite stood out, especially having to play alongside Aspen for most of it.
Long story short, the Longhorns were consistent, and that’s rarely a bad thing in golf.
Sticking with that same script, Basalt held steady to finish sixth as a team on Tuesday in the final round of the Class 3A state tournament at Boulder Country Club. This was up from a 10th-place finish a year ago.
“The consistency, again, nobody really had a horrible time,” first-year BHS coach Joseph Fries said. “We left a lot of shots out here, but it’s a tricky golf course. It’s different from the ones we play up there. A bit more traditional. I think the greens fooled the majority of the players out here.”
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Longhorn senior Holden Kleager, who attends Glenwood Springs High School, led the team with a tie for 16th place. He finished 16-over-par, shooting a solid 5-over 75 in the first round on Monday before a sluggish 81 on Tuesday.
Behind Kleager, BHS sophomore Tyler Sims and junior Blake Exelbert each finished 24-over to tie for 33rd, while senior Tyler Dollahan rounded out the group, shooting 33-over to finish 62nd out of 84 golfers.
“It was nerve-wracking. Yesterday, I didn’t post exactly what I wanted to, and today I was playing really good,” Sims said. “It was really exciting. It was really cool with all the bigger guys. I played with a kid (Tuesday) who is a senior and it was really cool to see how emotional he was that it was his last year, and just knowing I have two more years to come out here and give this a shot.”
Sims went as far as to change how he putts before Tuesday’s round. After putting 38 times on Monday, he cut that number to 26 by tweaking his grip and how he lined up his shot. Sims shot 84 on Monday and 80 on Tuesday.
“I learned a lot,” Sims said. “I’m really excited to come out next year and see if I can do even better.”
Winning its first state championship in golf was Aspen, which finished at 14-over-par to hold off powerhouse Kent Denver by nine strokes. Kent’s Jackson Klutznick finished 1-under to win the individual 3A state title, while Aspen senior Jack Hughes was second at 2-over.
“We’ve had a fun year with them,” said Fries, whose team saw the Skiers on a regular basis during the season. “Congrats to Aspen. They were the best team everywhere we went this year, and I’m glad to see it hold true to form here. Those boys deserve it.”
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Wayne Hall took a job as an air traffic controller at the Aspen-Pitkin County Airport in 2003 thinking he would stay for a short time. Instead he stayed for nearly 17 years and was promoted up to the position of air traffic manager. He reflected on the experience upon retirement.