They have no seniors, and they lost a key member of their team to graduation, but the Lovell Bulldogs have high hopes for the 2012 fall golf season under first-year head coach Devon Parks.
Gone from the team that won the spring Class 2A statewide regional tournament is Cody King, but four varsity members return among the 11 members of the fall squad.
“We’re definitely a young team,” Parks said in an interview Tuesday. “We’re rebuilding the second half of our varsity team, the number four and five golfers from last year.”
Practice for the Bulldogs started Monday under the tutelage of Parks and veteran assistant Dan Wolvington, who helped former coach Ben Fowler for several years.
Pending a playoff that was to be held Wednesday morning, Parks said that the top five golfers appear to be returning juniors Chase Tippetts and Brandon Wolvington, returning sophomores CJ Murphey and McKay Baxendale and junior Isaac Schroeder, although sophomores Sloan Colvin and Justin Mickelson and freshmen Hunter Tippetts and Dillon Schneider could challenge for the varsity five, Parks said,
“Cody was our number one golfer. He was number one in our conference and number three in the whole state during the spring,” Parks said. “His scores will be tough to replace.”
Either Tippetts or Wolvington could take King’s place as the team’s number one golfer in any given week, Parks said, noting that only about two strokes typically separate the two during competition. Both have played both fall and spring golf.
Murphey also played in both the fall and spring of his freshman season.
“He has some game experience and has put up some good scores. Now he’s working on consistently putting up good scores,” the coach said. “McKay is probably the most improved from last year. He and CJ will be battling for that third spot. He has shown a lot of improvement and consistency.
“Sloan is working hard, and Hunter is right there with Isaac battling for that fifth spot.”
Parks was hoping to have a full girls squad this fall (three golfers), but currently only two girls are out for the team, junior Journee Burton and sophomore Cassie Colvin.
“Cassie golfed in the spring and fell in love with the game,” Parks said. “We’re glad to have her out for the fall. Journee golfed in the spring her freshman and sophomore years. This is her first time golfing in the fall.
“We’re excited to have both of them.”
The Bulldogs will open the 2012 fall season at the Riverton Invitational this Thursday and Friday. Tee-off times are 1 p.m. Thursday and 9 a.m. Friday. The Bulldogs will have a full contingent of five varsity boys available for the Riverton tournament, but both Burton and Cassie Colvin have been absent this week and won’t golf in competition until the Powell/Cody Invitational Aug. 30-31.
Parks said the Thermopolis golf team will come to Lovell next Friday, Aug. 24, to practice with the Bulldogs on the Foster Gulch course, which will host the 2A State Tournament on Sept. 21-22.
“I’m excited. We have some players competing for spots. We didn’t have that in the spring,” Parks said. “It could be anybody on any given day qualifying for a tournament. It’s that close. It will be fun to have playoffs each week.”
By David Peck