Kate Griffin has a name for the first golf competitive tournament of the season: the rust buster.
Thursday’s Lady Trojan Invitational, hosted by Fountain-Fort Carson at Cheyenne Shadows Golf Club, was just that for Griffin and her Coronado teammates, but there didn’t appear to be much rust built up in her game.
Griffin turned in a 10-over-par 83 to finish third and lead the Cougars to the team title, earning Gazette Preps Peak Performer of the Week.
“I thought I did good for the first tournament,” the sophomore said.
Her driver came out of the bag with the most corrosion. Struggles with accuracy and length off the tee prompted Griffin to leave the club in her bag for the second half of the round, instead hitting a hybrid.
“Kate has a really well-rounded game,” Coronado coach Kelly Hodge. “She wasn’t getting off the tee as well as she does usually, so she was improvising, which was fun to see.”
Her saving grace came on the greens.
“My putting was the one that saved me,” she said. “I think I had maybe one or two three putts, which was good. I made a couple really good par putts to stay in there."
A highlight of the round came on No. 14, a 130-yard par 3. Her tee shot rested about five or six feet from the cup, leaving her a manageable birdie putt, which she made. She was at or under par on five holes of the back nine while her driver sat neglected in her bag.
“I couldn’t set myself up for the shots I wanted to, which was difficult, but once I started hitting my hybrid off the tee, things got a little bit easier,” Griffin said.
Griffin qualified for state as a freshman, placing 20th. While she attends school - and plays tennis - at Colorado Springs School, Griffin hopes to help lead Coronado to its first team trip to state.
“Even if I don’t go to the school, it’s still a team that I’m really lucky to be a part of,” Griffin said. “It would just be so cool, and I’m really thankful to have the opportunity to hopefully lead them to a chance at state.”
With plenty of time to remove any rust that built up in the offseason, her coach thinks Griffin has the potential to improve on her 2017 state showing and knows the sophomore doesn’t need much of a push.
“We talk about improvement, and we don’t give a number to it,” Hodge said. “Kate’s harder on herself than anyone, and so she will definitely want to outdo what she does last year.”
Griffin admitted that there were some nerves present when she made her state debut, but she’s right where she expected to be to start.
“My goal was low 80s and that’s what I got,” Griffin said.
“It’s exciting. It gives me a lot of hope. I’m optimistic about what I can do this season, but I’m really glad I was able to lead the team forward. First place is pretty huge in our first tournament.”
Other Peak Performers
Stephen Smith, The Classical Academy
Smith came up big in a three-win week for the Titans. Smith earned a pair of wins on the mound, including an 11-0 win over Vista Ridge when he scattered three hits and two walks over six scoreless innings. He drove in four runs and went 5 for 6 at the plate.
Maxine Choi, Cheyenne Mountain
Choi took the individual honors at Thursday's Lady Trojan Invitational at Cheyenne Shadows Golf Club with a seven-over 80. She was only two strokes over par through nine holes.
Jack Paul, Cheyenne Mountain
Paul, a senior, scored the game-winning goal in overtime to beat Valor Christian, the defending state champions, on Wednesday. It was Paul’s second goal of the game and his 13th of the season.
Nicole Beaulieu, Cheyenne Mountain
The junior continued her torrid scoring to start the season in a pair of lopsided Indian wins last week. Beaulieu scored five goals and had three assists against Palmer on Wednesday before scoring three times and setting up another goal against Fruita Monument on Saturday.
Brooklyn Mack, Manitou Springs
Mack, a senior forward, has scored in six of the Mustangs’ seven games to start the season. She had a hat trick and an assist against Ellicott on Thursday before putting on a five-goal, two-assist clinic against The Pinnacle on Saturday.
Boys swimming and Diving
Aric Althouse, Lewis-Palmer
Althouse was the class of the one-meter diver at Saturday’s Arapahoe Invitational. The senior scored 537, nearly 150 points clear of the second-place diver. His performance helped the Rangers capture third at the meet.
Mattie Kuntzelman, Discovery Canyon
The junior helped the Thunder to a pair of dual wins last week. Her first win at No. 1 singles came easily, a 6-0, 6-0 win over Falcon’s No. 1 in a Thunder sweep. Her second win of the week required a bit more, as she bounced back from 6-4 loss in the first set to take the next two 6-4, 6-1 and help Discovery Canyon to a 4-3 win over Pine Creek.
Boys track and field
Charles Broomfield, Coronado
The senior swept the discus and shot put at the John Tate Challenge Cup in Pueblo last week. He won the Division I discus with a throw of 154-10, more than six feet clear of second. His 52-9 shot put beat the field by more than four feet.
Girls track and field
Ereana McCallister, Harrison
McCallister, a junior, ran a 25.83 second 200-meter dash to take first at the John Tate Challenge Cup in Pueblo. Harrison also won the 4x200 relay and the placed fourth in the 4x400 relay.