Preps: Aspen High boys golf wins regional title behind individual champ Nic Pevny

From left, Aspen High School golfers senior Lucas Lee, senior Will Stiller, assistant coach Coulter Young, senior Nic Pevny and junior Sky Sosna pose with the regional championship trophy on Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2021, in Cortez. Pevny won the individual regional title.
Courtesy photo

Aspen High School senior Nic Pevny successfully defended his individual regional title on Tuesday and the AHS boys golf team will head to the state tournament as the regional champion for the 12th time in 13 seasons.

Playing at Conquistador Golf Course in Cortez, Pevny shot 3-under 69 to win Tuesday’s Class 3A Region 4 tournament by a stroke over junior Thayer Plewe of host Montezuma-Cortez. Ouray senior Hayden Hart was third with even-par 72.

“Nic had a good win today. That was a great win for Nic,” longtime AHS coach Mary Woulfe said. “I was really proud of how Nic played, but we wouldn’t be here without those other three boys. We wouldn’t have made it. A lot of kudos go out to the entire group.”

Aspen junior Sky Sosna finished sixth (5-over 77) and senior Lucas Lee tied for seventh (7-over 79) to make up the Skiers’ scoring trio. Senior Will Stiller shot 81 to finish in 13th, and all four will compete in the state tournament early next month.

Aspen shot a collective 225 to win the regional title by 13 strokes over Montezuma-Cortez (238), while Basalt finished third with 240. Only the top two teams qualified as a group for state.

“I started off not too hot, but I finished off strong,” Sosna said of his round. “That course was really hard for me. I don’t like all the dog legs. You have to be really accurate off the tee.”

Aspen had won 10 straight regional titles, a streak that also included the team winning the 2018 state championship, a first for the program. The Skiers’ streak ended in 2019 when they finished second on their home course to Montezuma-Cortez, but they bounced back in 2020 by winning the regional title at River Valley Ranch in Carbondale when Basalt hosted.

Last fall was capped off by Pevny winning the school’s first individual state championship.

“It was good. Played pretty well,” Pevny said of his round Tuesday, which finished with back-to-back birdies on Nos. 17 and 18 to hold off Plewe. “I feel pretty good about states. We have a pretty good chance to contend if we all play pretty well. It will be really fun. The other boys are playing really well right now.”

While Basalt did not qualify as a team at regionals, there will still be three Longhorns competing at state, meaning the team will be able to compete for the team title. Sophomore Garrett Exelbert shot 76 to finish fifth and sophomore Alec Claassen shot 79 to finish tied with Lee for seventh. BHS senior Braden Exelbert shot 85 to tie for 18th and held on in a playoff to qualify as an individual for state. The top 13 individuals not on the top two qualifying teams also advanced.

Aspen High School senior Nic Pevny, left, stands with Montezuma's Thayer Plewe as they both watch a competitor's ball during the Skiers' home golf tournament on Monday, Aug. 16, 2021, at Aspen Golf Club.
Photo by Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times

Basalt senior Kyle Murray was the lone Longhorn left on the outside, as his 89 put him in 27th place and will leave him off the state roster.

“Just a tough day for Kyle. He’s had such a great season. He’s such a great teammate and member of our team and brought a lot of leadership,” first-year Basalt coach Travis Stewart said. “Congratulations to Nic for winning the individual tournament. They look primed and ready to go so we are happy for those guys too.”

Basalt can certainly still be seen as a state contender, as it won many of the early-season tournaments and even had Aspen’s number for much of the fall. A disadvantage they will have, however, is that the Skiers played a tournament on the state course in Elizabeth earlier this season and the Longhorns did not.

Still, Stewart likes what he sees from his state-qualified trio, especially the young Garrett Exelbert, who has been a consistent force for the team this year. Exelbert also qualified for state as a freshman, along with then-senior Tyler Sims.

“He’s just steady. He’s had a great season this year,” Stewart said. “He’s just a guy that keeps his head down and plugs along. He does a great job week in and week out. You take him for granted sometimes because he’s so dependable. But he’s an awesome player and a great teammate. He leads by what he does.”

The two-round 3A state tournament is scheduled for Oct. 4 and 5 at Spring Valley Golf Club in Elizabeth, located on the plains just southeast of Denver.

“I’m super excited,” Sosna said. “We played that course already. Most of us feel pretty good about the misses there and how the course is laid out, so we are pretty confident.”

Aspen volleyball sweeps by Roaring Fork

The Aspen High School volleyball team made quick work of visiting Roaring Fork on Tuesday, winning 3-0 inside the AHS gymnasium. Set scores were 25-13, 25-17 and 25-19 in the non-league match.

It was the Skiers’ first home game since their five-set loss to Basalt on Aug. 26, prior to experiential education.

Roaring Fork fell to 1-11 overall, while Aspen improved to 4-1 on the season. The Skiers are 3-0 since their return from ex-ed with wins over Rifle (3-2) and Gunnison (3-0) also on the resume.

“They’re getting smarter with their game,” AHS coach Brittany Zanin said. “All 10 of them are a part of why we’ve been successful in three these past two matches.”

Next up, the Rams play Thursday at Delta, while Aspen is off until hosting Delta on Oct. 1.

Basalt (7-2) is scheduled to host Grand Junction Central on Wednesday evening.

Aspen soccer loses to Roaring Fork

The Aspen High School boys soccer team played Tuesday at Roaring Fork, falling 3-1 to snap a four-game win streak.

The Rams, ranked No. 9 in Class 3A this week, improved to 5-1 overall. They travel to Palisade on Friday. The Skiers fell to 4-2 overall and host Glenwood Springs on Thursday.

The Basalt High School boys soccer team hosted Rifle on Tuesday, losing 3-1 in a league game on the BHS field. The Bears improved to 2-4 overall, while BHS fell to 1-7 on the season. Basalt is off until traveling to Glenwood Springs on Tuesday.

Basalt softball falls twice to Delta

The Basalt High School softball team played Tuesday at Delta, falling twice by scores of 13-3 and 9-5. The Longhorns dropped to 3-12 overall this season and are scheduled to host Aspen (0-9) on Thursday afternoon.