High expectations: Colorado Mesa golf teams aiming for more success
The Colorado Mesa University men’s golf team made history last season and is looking for more.
The Mavericks took sixth place in the RMAC and qualified for the NCAA Super Regionals for the first time in only the program’s second year.
Mesa is picked to finish sixth again this year. The Mavs’ top two players are back, Brandon Bingaman, a Fruita Monument High School graduate, and Eric Farmer, a Delta High School graduate.
“We have a lot more depth this year,” Mesa coach Paul Brown said. “My expectations are a lot higher than last year.”
Sophomore transfer Tyler Hunt and freshmen Ryan Church, Sean Robbins and Derek Despere, join Bingaman and Farmer.
Sophomores David Lopez and Jake Jacobs and freshmen Casey Kneupfer, Davis Kinney and Matt Weiss will play some rounds.
Mesa opens the season Tuesday in the first RMAC tournament hosted by Adams State at Cattails Golf Course in Alamosa.
The Mavericks play five tournaments in the fall and six in the spring before the RMAC Championships in April.
“I’m trying to get the kids to think the top two or three (in the RMAC),” Brown said.
Seniors Jennifer Hilts, Jessica Berve and Afton Balling are back for their final year after leading the Mavericks to the RMAC title and the NCAA Super Regional.
Hilts qualified for the NCAA Championships and placed 47th in the nation last spring. She is the RMAC women’s preseason golfer of the year and a preseason All-RMAC selection.
Berve was an All-RMAC performer and is a preseason pick this year. Balling was a consistent scorer for the RMAC champions.
“The three seniors are looking good,” Mesa coach Scott Hansen said. “They have been the core of the team for four years. They have a lot of experience and I expect them to have a strong finish.
“Afton has worked hard over the summer. She’s like a whole different golfer.”
Senior Amber Nicholson has adjusted since transferring to Mesa last year and has showed improvement.
Junior Michelle Strip of Glenwood Springs is back and could figure in Mesa’s team score.
Freshman Alisa Lindsay has played well early this fall and could sneak in to Mesa’s lineup. She was a three-time state qualifier at Rampart High School in Colorado Springs.
Mesa opens its season Sept. 12 in the first RMAC tournament hosted by Colorado Christian University at Racoon Creek Golf Club in Littleton.