Golfing toward a better future through 3A, 4A and 5A

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By Alissa Noe


As the high school golf season wound down this year, D’Evelyn, Columbine, Chatfield and Front Range Christian all sent some talent to compete in the 3A, 4A and 5A golf tournaments.

From Chatfield, Max Heupel shot a 172, 30-over par, which was good for 73rd place in a pool of 84 golfers in the 5A tournament at CommonGround Golf Course in Aurora. Though he’s only a sophomore, he put in the work necessary between this season and last to poise himself for his run to state.

It’s something he hopes will carry him throughout the rest of his high school career.

“I think it’s really going to help me. Getting through the pressure of state was one thing. There were a lot of people there. I can kind of see the competition and what the scores are,” Heupel said. “I think it’s going to give me something to shoot for because I definitely do want to win, and it’s just going to really help motivate me, I think, this summer and the summer after that.”

His coach, Steve Schimpeler, hopes it’ll be something he can learn from.

“I told him that he should use this year just to gain experience and understand what it’s like, but no pressure, no expectations, just find out what it is, what it’s like, and I think next year, he’s got a chance to maybe have an impact and maybe make a run at it,” Schimpeler said.

From Columbine, senior Jaden Opperman made a comeback this season that no one expected, not even his coach. After suffering a hernia over the summer, he missed the first few weeks of the season, but he didn’t let that hamper his game.

“I kind of surprised myself. I never thought I would make it there, and it was just awesome. It was really nice to bounce back like that from an injury,” Opperman said. I struggled a little bit, but it was a ton of fun being out there and being able to be there for Columbine. It was definitely a memorable experience that I’ll never forget.”

Opperman shot a 181, 39-over par, and placed 81st.

“He made regionals, and I was honestly surprised he made the region team,” his coach, Cory Olsen, said. “To watch him qualify for regionals and then play really well was pretty cool. I was very proud to just see him out there competing.”

In the 4A tournament at Raccoon Creek Golf Course in Littleton, sophomore Medhaj Shrestha shined for D’Evelyn as he reined in a 31st-place finish, shooting 166 — 22-over par.

“It was exciting, but I wish my team could be here, though,” Shrestha said. “It gives me hope to get into (the tournament) the next two years. I’ve just got to practice a lot more and try to get my score lower.”

After missing the first few tournaments of the season because he was out of town, Shrestha was happy he could get to state. His coach couldn’t have been prouder and is looking forward to what the rest of his career will bring.

“He’s a quality kid, very smart, academic. He has a very good golf personality, and he is very calm. He doesn’t let a lot of things faze him, and he’s just a great kid. It’s been a pleasure to have him on our team,” D’Evelyn coach Paul Witherspoon said. “I think he can play golf at the next level.”

At Saddle Rock Golf Course in Aurora, Front Range Christian sophomore golfer Breck Ferrin placed 69th overall and shot 18-over par (90) in the one-day tournament on Tuesday after weather canceled Monday’s competition.