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Griswold, Durango golf win in Pagosa Springs

DHS bounces back from rough performance at Dalton Ranch
From left: Zach Griswold, Owen Muraro and Drew Jepson celebrate after grabbing the top-three individual spots at the Pagosa Springs High School golf tournament on Wednesday. Griswold shot a 72 to win the individual title. (Courtesy Kirk Rawles)

Durango High School head golf coach Kirk Rawles compared his team’s performances on Tuesday and Wednesday to Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. The Demons struggled at their home tournament at the Dalton Ranch Golf Club and finished fifth as a team. On Wednesday in Pagosa Springs, however, DHS claimed the top-three individual spots to win the team title with a 223.

Zach Griswold shot a 72 to take first at the Pagosa Springs Golf Club, Owen Muraro shot a 74 to place second and Drew Jepson finished third with a 77. Jepson, who attends Bayfield High School but plays for the Demons, also finished third at Dalton with a 75 while Griswold and Muraro both shot 92.

“Drew was the steadiest of them as a freshman,” Rawles said. “Some days you’re just off a little and can’t find it and some days you can see every shot. It was good sign for them to bounce back.”

Durango High School seniors Eli Holden, left, and Henry Howe enjoy a moment on Tuesday while competing at the Dalton Ranch Golf Club in Durango. The two players will play head-to-head this week for a spot on the regional team. (Courtesy Kirk Rawles)

Henry Howe wasn’t far off with a 79 while Eli Holden carded an 80.

“That’s pretty solid for our five varsity players,” Rawles said. “It was by far one of our best outings of the year yesterday.”

Monte Vista finished second as a team with a 242. Durango fielded a second team and it finished third with a 243, followed by Montezuma-Cortez (250), Pagosa Springs (252), Alamosa (287) and Del Norte (336).

Rosario Rypkema shot an 79 in Pagosa after carding an eighth-place 80 at Dalton. Roman Thompson (81) Wyatt Lafferty (83), Ben Ogden (87) and Bailey Burke (91) also played in Pagosa for DHS.

At Dalton, Montrose shot a 226 to win the team title, led by individual champion Caleb Caskey (70). Cortez shot a 242 to finish second, followed by Kirtland Central (243), Pagosa Springs (253), Durango (254) and Fruita Monument (255) in sixth. Jepson finished third to lead Durango, finishing three shots behind runner-up Jonathon Smith of Pagosa Springs (72).

Vince Lopez shot a 76 to place fourth and lead Cortez while Gavin Frost (80), Airoughn Morris (86) and Kaden Huff (86) also competed for the Panthers.

Durango will next compete in the regional championships Wednesday at the Bookcliff Country Club in Grand Junction. Griswold, Muraro and Jepson will all compete while Howe and Holden are battling for the team’s final spot. Howe shot an 84 Tuesday while Holden shot an 87.

“Henry and Eli are pretty much tied for the fourth spot so we’ll do a nine-hole match play to see who gets to go,” Rawles said.

The top-two teams at the regional championships and top-13 individuals not on those teams will qualify for the 4A state championships Oct. 2 at the Bridges Golf and Country Club in Montrose.

Regional foes Grand Junction and Montrose are ranked No. 1 and 2 in Class 4A while Mullen is No. 7. If Durango plays like it did Wednesday, however, the Demons can compete with anyone.

“I’m feeling pretty optimistic,” Rawles said. “We have the potential and we’ll be in the mix. The goal is to get all four guys to state.”