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A trip to state is worth the wait


Hattie Poole wasn't about to let what she called a "harsh" round of golf and a long weather delay rain on her parade.

The Heritage junior still managed to qualify and will be playing in the Class 5A state golf tournament at The Club at Rolling Hills in Golden on May 22-23.

She carded a 96 at the Western Regional tournament at Fox Hollow in Lakewood on May 8, but tied for the final state-qualifying spot with Anna Branscome of Bear Creek.

A playoff was set, but severe weather was approaching.

Poole and Branscome each made par on the first hole on the Meadow course, but after hitting their tee shots on the second hole, lightning forced the golfers to mark their balls and retreat to the clubhouse.

Then rain and hail started, but Poole had her teammates with her and they waited for more than an hour while coaches and Colorado High School Activities Association officials went over options on how to complete the playoff.

The decision was made to resume play instead of returning the next morning. A Fox Hollow grounds crew worker helped by clearing hail off the second green and the golfers tied the hole with bogeys.

The third hole could not be played because of hail on the fairway so the golfers moved to the par 3 fourth hole, where Poole's bogey putt won the playoff.

"I was pretty exhausted," Poole said. "I was excited. My teammates came over and gave me a hug. We all celebrated a little bit. I got in the car and my mom and I were just sitting there emotionally drained.

"At this point, my main goal at Rolling Hills is to improve my game from how I played at the regional. I had a harsh round. I didn't play well at all. I was not expected to go to state after that day. So I'm just looking to play better at state."

Hilton strikes back

Senior right-handed pitcher Jacob Hilton surrendered a year of varsity baseball when he transferred from Arapahoe to Heritage.

He had to play on the Eagles' junior varsity team last spring, but this year on the varsity he was one of the state's strikeout leaders as he fanned 67 batters in 48 innings.

Hilton transferred to accompany his sister to Heritage.

"It was pretty tough," he said. "Heritage is like family to me so I knew most of the guys. It was tough not being with the team in the playoffs last year."

Taking one for the team

If you want to talk about sacrifice, visit with Rock Canyon golfer Brooklyn Murphy.

To make a complicated situation as simple as possible, the Jaguars finished second in the May 8 Western Regional and qualified a four-player team. However, one of Rock Canyon's best golfers, Alexis Chan, didn't play in the regional because she was in China due to a family matter.

Rock Canyon was hoping to have Chan replace its fourth golfer but because the Jaguars' No. 4 golfer Ashley Kozlowski was within 10 strokes of the last individual qualifier, the Jaguars could not sub the fourth golfer for the state tournament.

They could substitute for one of the top three golfers, so Murphy, who shot a career-best 89 at Fox Hollow, offered to give up her spot so Chan, who finished tied for 13th in the 2016 state tournament, could play in the state tournament.

Jim Benton is a sports writer for Colorado Community Media. He has been covering sports in the Denver area since 1968. He can be reached at jbenton@coloradocommunitymedia.com or at 303-566-4083.

Jim Benton


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