Boys’ golf team wins state; girls place 2nd

The Kemmerer boys’ golf team took first place at the spring state golf tournament in Sheridan. Pictured are Michael Clarke, Ben Wergin, Rayce Kindschuh, Blake Wood and Shawn Crank. (COURTESY PHOTO/Zem Hopkins)

SHERIDAN — This past week, the 2A Spring State Golf Championships were held in Sheridan. Eleven 2A school from throughout Wyoming played the Kendrick Golf Course and the Hidden Bridge Golf Course in the 2019 Spring Championships and Conference Championships. Two conference championships were decided — the Five Rivers Conference and the Cowboys Conference. Weather for the two-day event was very good on Friday and cool and windy on Saturday. Seventy-eight golfers played both days for team and individual championships. 

The boys title was a close contest. After the first day, the Kemmerer boys were in first by 7 strokes, ahead of 2A champion Thermopolis and 11 strokes ahead of host Tongue River. The second day saw the Kemmerer Rangers put together an 18-stroke improvement to win the Spring State Championship by 24 strokes over an improving Lusk team. Third place was Thermopolis at 782. Fourth place was Sundance at 784. Fifth place was host Tongue River at 792. Sixth was Wright at 857. Lovell finished seventh at 922. Four other boys’ teams competed but did not have enough boys to have a team score.

The Ranger team was led by Ben Wergin, 88 and 85 for a total of 173, earning third place. Next were Blake Wood and Rayce Kindschuh, 100 and 90 each for a total of 190, earning 11th place. Next was Michael Clarke, shooting 98 and 103 for a finish of 201. Rounding out the team scoring was Shawn Crank, 105 and 112 totaling 217.

The Rangers were also the 2019 Cowboys Conference champions. Four Rangers earned all-conference honors — Wergin, Kindschuh, Wood and Clarke.

The girls’ team title was also a closely-contested event. The Ranger girls were 28 strokes behind after the first day. The girls came out on Saturday and improved by 20 strokes — not enough to overtake host Tongue River, who shot 620. The Lady Rangers shot 634 for second. Third was Lusk at 649. Next was Sundance at 706. Rounding out the team scoring was Upton at 810.

The Lady Rangers were also second in the Cowboy Conference, behind Tongue River. The Lady Rangers were led by freshman Olivia Nielson, 97 and 92, totaling 189. Nielson finished second overall. Next was Kinzee Painter, 107 and 106 for a total of 213. Next for the Lady Rangers was Charity Chamberlain at 123 and 109 for a total of 232.

“This was a great day for Ranger golf,” Coach Zem Hopkins said. “The boys’ team won the 2A Spring Championship, beating the team that had edged the Rangers in the fall by 28 strokes. The boys’ effort was amazing, coming back with an 18-stroke improvement to win on the road. The entire team put in a great effort to win this event, and I am very proud of them all — they all made a great contribution to this goal we started after last fall’s disappointment. Ben’s play leading the team was great and Michael having a career meet helped a lot. The team made a great effort to improve.

“The girls’ team got off to rough start at the Kendrick Course,” Hopkins continued. “The host team took advantage of their local knowledge to put up an impressive number. They went out on a very challenging Hidden Bridge Golf Course and put up a great second-day total of 307.  We were just too far behind to catch the Tongue River team. The girls were impressive — the effort by all the girls. They were disappointed in second — they came to Sheridan to win and did not reach that goal but what a great effort after the first day.

“Olivia, a freshman, shot her best rounds and was second,” Hopkins said. “Kinzee just kept grinding to finish eight overall. Charity had a rough start on Friday but despite an issue after the round, she showed great courage the second day to improve by 14 strokes. This was a great tournament for both the boys’ and girls’ teams coming back with a championship and a runner-up finish.”

This week the boys and girls will play a last event in Pinedale. Hopkins said he and his teams are looking forward to the opportunity to compete one more time.

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