At long last, seven Durango High School girls golfers got to make their tournament debuts.
After the 2020 season was canceled by COVID-19 and DHS was unable to make a trip north last week because of weather conditions, the chance to play the Cortez Invitational at Conquistador Golf Course on Tuesday was a welcome opportunity for the Demons, which finished second as a team with a three-player score of 374, which was 19 shots behind tournament winner Piedra Vista.
“The biggest thing is we actually got to play,” DHS head coach Kirk Rawles said. “Getting through quarantines and figuring out who is going to be eligible to play and then actually getting on the course together is the biggest thing.”
DHS was led by returning star senior Lilly Tichi, who shot 15-over-par 87 to tie for fourth place. Piedra Vista’s Annie Yost, an eighth grader, shot 5-over 77 to win, while her teammate Shandiin Harper shot 79 to take second. Farmington’s Mari Caldwell was third after shooting 12-over 84.
While Tichi has played in big high school tournaments several times in her career, the other Demons played for the first time representing DHS. Zayda Mestas, a sophomore, shined as she shot 88 to finish sixth. Sophomore Natasha Walcott shot 95 to place ninth, and senior Kathryn Paul shot a 104 to finish 10th.
Playing in an event in the Four Corners, Rawles took the opportunity to send eight players. Junior Summer Bonnar shot 107 to tie for 12th, junior Ava Orndorff tallied 109 to place 14th, sophomore Claire Paul carded a 112 for a 16th-place finish, and sophomore Eliza Bosmans shot 120 to finish 19th in the 27-player field.
“Lilly is the only one from our team who has ever played in a high school golf tournament because the girls didn’t get to play last year,” Rawles said. “We are trying to get mileage as quick as we can and get them up to speed. Getting to play with the girls from Piedra Vista, they realized they can be pretty good and see where they can step up or what they can do a little better to compete with those players.
“For our first trip, this was great. We got a snapshot today, and I am excited about where we can go.”
DHS will compete again Thursday at Montrose.