Bingaman, Hoppe excited to help Mavs build golf program
Brandon Bingaman and Calan Hoppe couldn’t be happier about Mesa State College adding men’s golf this school year.
The Fruita Monument and Central high school graduates are two of 10 players in the Mavericks’ program, which begins next Monday in the RMAC Fall Championship in Trinidad.
“I’ve always wondered if they would get (a men’s program),” Hoppe said. “I was just sticking around. If they didn’t get one this year, I would stick around and work. I was planning on going to Mesa anyway.
“I’ll just go out there and see what happens. I’m not going to try to put any pressure on myself.”
Bingaman graduated from Fruita Monument in 2008 and attended Mesa State last year.
He was considering transferring to Adams State when he found out Mesa’s program was starting this year.
“With Brandon and Calan, they’ll be solid,” Mesa State coach Scott Hansen said. “I like the youth of the team. Hopefully we’ll be competitive right away and add to it as we go along.
Anybody on the team can turn it on and play well.”
They are joined on the roster by juniors Eric Farmer (Delta), Adam Golesh (Littleton), John Savage (Rifle), sophomores Anthony Lopez (Westminster) and Michael Reeve (Bend, Ore.) and freshmen David Lopez (Westminster), Cody Miller (Kiowa) and Tyler Smith (Westminster).
Although the Mavericks are in their first year, Bingaman and Hoppe believe they will finish better than last place as predicted by the RMAC coaches.
“I think we have a really good team,” Bingaman said. “We’re supposedly ranked 10th (in the RMAC), but I think we could easily be up there with the top guys if we get some guys going consistently. We definitely have guys with some talent.”
Mesa has three tournaments in the fall and two in the spring before the RMAC Championship.
Each men’s tournament is 54 holes in two days.
Three Mavericks return to lead the women’s team picked for the first time to win the RMAC title, but their top player may be a newcomer in Kristina Casillas.
The junior transfer from Sacramento (Calif.) City College had an average score of 78.9 last season. She joins returning players Afton Balling, Jessica Berve and Jennifer Hilts. Berve is a preseason All-RMAC pick. The roster will be filled out with freshmen Michelle Stripp (Glenwood Springs) and Brooke Jorgenson (Gillette, Wyo.).
“With Kristina coming in, she’s real steady,” Hansen said. “She’s shot some pretty good scores.
Jen is a lot more ready to play this time this year than this time last year. We’ve got two players with a chance to win tournaments every week.
“We have depth with Afton and Jessica. Brooke and Michelle have a lot of potential. The depth part should really help, knowing you have five people able to count (toward team) scores helps.”
Mesa State is off to a good start. The Mavericks lead the Adams State Invitational by 10 strokes with 319 through the first round of the Adams State Invitational on Monday in Alamosa.
Regis is second with 329.
Casillias is third with 77. Jennifer Hilts is fifth with 79, Jessica Berve is sixth with 81 and Afton
Balling is eighth with 82.
The Adams State Invitational continues today.