Central shines on links despite losing Martin
It’s hard to replace a golfer like Melissa Martin.
The Central High School girls team has found a nice way to try and remedy that, however.
Martin, who placed in the top 10 in four Class 5A state tournaments, including a tie for second the past two years, left a large legacy when she graduated last spring.
“The biggest thing we’ve done, as good as Melissa was, is say, ‘You’re not Melissa,’ ” Warriors head coach Casey Doss said.
He may continue to have the most frequent low medalist in Western Slope tournaments this spring.
Loren Forney, a junior from Rifle and a two-time top-five 4A state finisher, moved to Grand Junction during the winter break.
She joins a veteran Warriors team that includes two-time state qualifier Angela Marquez and another experienced varsity player in Jazmin Lee.
Forney and Lee topped the leader board at Monday’s season-opening Wildcat Invitational at Adobe Creek National Golf Course.
Forney shot a 76 to defeat Lee by three strokes in earning the first title of the spring season.
Coupled with Marquez’s tie for third at 80, Central ran away with the team title. The Warriors shot a 235 and finished 34 strokes ahead of second-place Glenwood Springs.
The Demons also have a couple of state tournament veterans in Michelle Stripp and Natasha Derby, who both placed in the top seven, with teammate Haley Peterson tying for ninth with a 95.
Forney’s family has joined Bookcliff Country Club and she’s been practicing since mid-February at Lincoln Park Golf Course. That’s a new phenomenon for her.
“In Rifle we’d probably be swinging into the net,” she said.
While Forney moves up in classification this year, she’ll spend the regular season playing with, and against, the same players with whom she competed during the previous two years.
“It definitely helps playing with people as good as you,” she said of being challenged by Marquez and Lee in practice.
Forney, Marquez and Lee have all worked hard in the offseason, both on the practice range and in the weight room, as have two other challengers for varsity spots, Kendra Martinez and Brittany Hoppe.
Since Doss is Forney’s teacher for weightlifting class, he’s been keeping an eye on his new charge.
“He’s making sure I work out,” Forney said.
A number of new faces grace the Fruita Monument lineup. The Wildcats finished third on Monday with a 277.
Tymerie Ho, a part-time varsity player last year, joins Katie Dietz, Jessica Sinner, Katelynn Binkley and Amy Hurshman in trying to maintain the tradition at Fruita.
Jordan Fellhauer, who tied Marquez for third, heads up a Grand Junction team that finished one shot behind Fruita on Monday. Jordan Tufly also brings varsity experience to the Tigers.
Mackenzie Schmalz, Raelynn Early and Crystal Manzanares will be among those vying for spots on the varsity.
Palisade also returns a host of experience with Kendra Collette, Micah Monger, Angela Booher and Rachel Ryan all having varsity time last season.
Collete led the fifth-place Bulldogs with a 95 on Monday.
The prep tournament schedule resumes today with Palisade’s invitational at Lincoln Park.