ARVADA — The race for the Class 5A Jeffco League boys golf individual medalist title couldn’t have been much closer Sept. 13.
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There was about 10 golfers who were in contention to win the title heading into the sixth and final Jeffco League tournament of the season at West Woods Golf Club. After all the scores were tallied and the two highest 9-holes scores taken out, Ralston Valley sophomore Dimarco Benallo won by the slimmest of margins.
Benallo finished the conference schedule with 357 strokes. Valor Christian junior Ethan Rainey — lowest round of the day at West Woods with a 7-under-par, 65 — finished just a stroke back with a 358. Columbine junior Matai Naqica finished third with a 359.
The top-6 individuals and first team all-conference selections were rounded out by Ralston Valley senior Jordan McCaslin, Valor junior Maxwell Eide and Arvada West senior Yusuke Ogi.
“It wasn’t in my mind. I was just trying to focus on every shot,” Rainey said of the individual and team titles up for grabs. “I didn’t want the moment to get to me. I defintely wanted to shoot a good score for the team. It doesn’t look like we are going to get it done, but it was super fun out there.”
The round of 65 was the best score in a tournament this season for Rainey, but Valor just came up short on winning the team title, too, despite the exceptional round by Rainey.
“So putts fell and I got some good breaks,” Rainey said of his round that included four straight birdies in his first five holes.
Valor captured the 5A state title in 2020. The Eagles were edged out by Ralston Valley by nine strokes for the 5A Jeffco team title over the six league tournaments. The Mustangs’ No. 4 golfer — junior Makian Maydew — played a big role Tuesday in allowing Ralston Valley to hang on to win the team title.
“I think the main focus was on the team title,” Maydew said after finishing second with a great round of 68. “We all really came together this season. That was our one main goal this season was to bring home the team title.”
Maydew had his own birdie run on his front-nine (Sleeping Indian). The junior birdied 5, 6, 7 and 8 to help him secure a 32 during his first nine holes.
“It was awesome for me to be able to contribute today,” Maydew said. “Putts were falling. It felt great.”
As the No. 1 team out of Jeffco, the Mustangs are slated to head to the Western Slope to play in the 5A Western Regional at Adobe Creek National Golf Course in Fruita on Monday, Sept. 19.
“We have a lot of talent on the team this year,” Maydew said. “I feel very confident about our chances at regionals and state.”
The 5A state tournament will be held at City Park Golf Course in Denver.
Valor will head to the Southern Regional held at South Suburban Golf Course on Thursday, Sept. 22.
“After this we’ll get our minds set on regionals and state,” Rainey said. “I’m looking forward to it for sure.”
On the 4A side, it was a runaway race. Evergreen repeated as 4A Jeffco team champs. The Cougars defeated second-place Dakota Ridge by 118 strokes over the six tournaments.
Evergreen sophomore Tyler Long repeated as the 4A medalist champion. Long finished out his regular season in style with a 2-under-par 70. He is halfway to becoming a 4-time league medalist champion.
The Cougars had a legit shot at contending for the 4A team title at state. All five of Evergreen’s golfers — Long, senior Duncan McIntosh, along with sophomores Luke Sabina, Lincoln Mackay and Liam Houlihan — all finished in the top-12 of the individual standing this season to make first team all-conference.
The rest of the 4A Jeffco first team all-conference was Dakota Ridge senior Ty White, D’Evelyn junior Taj Kumar, Dakota Ridge senior Jack Libby, Green Mountain senior Jon Lord, Dakota Ridge senior Jack White and Littleton senior Dane Price.
All of the 4A Jeffco teams played in the 4A Region 2 tournament Monday, Sept. 19, at Country Club of Colorado in Colorado Springs.
Dennis Pleuss is the sports information director for Jeffco Public Schools. For more Jeffco coverage, go to CHSAANow.com.
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