The A-Team: On a mission for state | AspenTimes.com

The A-Team: On a mission for state

Nate Peterson

Aspen High School senior Teddy Karlinski practices his pitching at the Aspen Golf Club on Wednesday. (Paul Conrad/The Aspen Times)

Aspen senior Teddy Karlinski spent a good part of the summer in New Zealand riding snow. His golf game didn’t suffer.Monday in Glenwood Springs, Karlinski fired a 76 to finish second behind Glenwood senior Matt McAdow, whose 74 was good for the win on his home course. The second-place finish was Karlinski’s first result of the new high school season since he missed the first three dates on the Skiers varsity schedule because of his travels Down Under.

When asked about his strong start during a break from launching balls at the junior driving range at the Aspen Golf Club Wednesday afternoon, Karlinski seemed indifferent. He shrugged his shoulders and said “I’m happy with it.” The conversation then took a different tack. Karlinski admitted it is not his early-season results that he is worried about this year, but instead how he is playing when the regional tournament rolls around in late September.Last season, Karlinski’s most frustrating round of the season came at the regional at Battlement Mesa Golf Club in Parachute. He finished out of the top 10 individually, and the Skiers finished seventh as a team, negating a trip to state. Having had a year to let that final round simmer in his head, Karlinski said he is more focused mentally this season to do whatever it takes to make it to the state tournament at Wellshire Golf Club in Denver Oct. 3-4.”I need to work on keeping my composure together,” the senior said. “Don’t freak out during a round. Just be patient. Don’t rush things. Be confident. Just say before every round, ‘I want to go out and win this.’ And then go out and win it.” Second-year coach Henry Adams expects Karlinski to qualify for state individually this season, but he also hopes that the Skiers can qualify as a team. To do that, the team has to finish first or second at this year’s regional in Craig.

Last year was a rebuilding year, Adams said. This fall, the Skiers have five players on the varsity roster who should challenge the other eight teams in the 4A Western Region for the crown. “That’s our goal for this year and realistically we have a really good chance at it,” Adams said. “[Last year] was our year to put together a team as best we possibly could with our eyes toward 2005. We brought a lot of hard work, a lot of practice out of the boys. … Our intent was this year we could build up from there.”The four golfers joining Karlinski on the varsity A team are freshmen Murphy Fyrwald, senior Wylie Melberg, sophomore Charlie Olson and junior Matt Butler.Fyrwald, the son of assistant coach Eddie Fyrwald, has played his way into the No. 2 spot thus far this season and could be the difference when it comes to making the team cut for state. The same could be true of Melberg, who already has two years of varsity experience.

While teams travel between four and five golfers to varsity tournaments, only the three best scores are combined for the team score at the end of the day. Adams hopes the five players on his roster – with all their combined talent – will individually push themselves each week to finish with one of the three low scores.More than anything, Karlinski said he doesn’t want to settle for spending another state tournament weekend at home this fall looking forward to snow instead of finishing his final prep season with a bang in Denver.To do that, a regional blowup has to be avoided. Karlinski said he isn’t worried, noting that this fall he won’t let one bad hole – or stroke even – ruin an entire round. “It’s knowing that I can get through it,” he said. “Just go out and have fun. I’d like to make an all-conference or all-state team with all my scores.”Nate Peterson can be reached at npeterson@aspentimes.com