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Warriors finish second at state

Simmons, Horath, Klinghagen and Foote earn All-State honors

WORLAND - The 2019 golf season ended with another runner-up finish for the Worland High School boys golf team at the 3A State meet in Afton on Sept. 20-21.

Sophomore Karsten Simmons also came in second for the Warriors, falling just short of defending his 3A State title.

The Lander Tigers as a team shot a 295, 306 – 601 to threepeat as 3A's best golf team, 22 strokes ahead of second-place Worland. And senior Jaren Calkins went 71, 67 – 138 for his second title in three seasons, beating out Simmons (69, 72 – 141) by three strokes.

While the Warriors came up short WHS golf coach Chad Rose was proud of his team. They played their best golf in tough weather conditions and just bested by a great team.

"I think the kids played pretty well in very adverse conditions," said Rose. "Tons of rain for all groups on day one, and later groups on Day 2, which is where all of our kids fell. If I had to highlight some great performances in terrible conditions, I would call attention to JT [Klinghagen] and Robyn [Horath], who both shot better than their yearly average in spite of sleet, rain and very cold conditions."

Despite finishing second, the Warriors and Worland golf as a whole picked up some accolades. Klinghagen (fifth, 76, 75 – 151), Logan Foote (75, 87 – 162) and Lady Warrior junior Robyn Horath (eighth, 95, 98 – 193) all picked up All-State honors by placing in the top 10 of their respective fields.

"Robyn drove the ball extremely well but managed to stay out of trouble. Her short game has improved so much over the year. I really can't describe how proud of her I am," said Rose.

As a senior, Foote closes out his career having earned three All-State selections and is also a cornerstone in helping the Warriors become perennial state title contenders. Rose credits Foote and fellow senior Konnor Macy for helping turn the Warrior program around.

"Logan was the first All-State selection in five years for the Warrior boys team, so he was the catalyst that helped push us forward. I'm so happy that he was able to get his first hole in one this weekend, on Saturday [hole 11]. He was ecstatic, as he should be. I will miss his fist pumps, but he and Konnor have left this program better than they found it.

"Konnor shot his lowest state rounds in his high school career this year, and really helped us vault forward and keep our distance from Star Valley at state. He is the toughest kid I know, and will fight hard when the moment calls for it. He didn't like how he was hitting the ball in the practice round, but he made good choices and just fought," said Rose.

The 2019 season was a big year for Worland golf, the Warriors kept raising the bar, Horath improved immensely in her junior campaign and the JV golfers did their part in pushing the varsity team to keep bettering their game.

"This team set the school record for the lowest score on a par 72 course and broke the record we set last year for the lowest season average. Robyn improved by 13 strokes over her average last year. Karsten's year can only be outdone by his performance last year, but he really gutted it out at the end of the season. JT had the seventh-best season average in Worland history.

"But I have to recognize the efforts of the JV team. They were in third place at conference after the first day and finished third in the Lovell/Thermop tournament with a first day 339. That score would win state most years, and to have a JV team that can shoot those scores is impressive. I'm so happy that they were able to play as much as they were this spring because in another school most of them would be the one man," said Rose.

Foote, Macy and senior Karter Dunham and Luke Lamb are set to graduate in the spring. And while Worland golf will miss their contributions to the team the Warriors and Lady Warriors are still step up for future success.

Freshmen golfers Jackson Dunham and Landen Gilmore made huge strides in their play this season. Dunham was on the varsity team at state and finished 16th with an 85, 88 -173 and Gilmore finished fourth at the 3A East conference tournament in Torrington.

Pairing those two with Klinghagen and Simmons, and you figure the Warriors are set to have another dominate team in 2020.

For the Lady Warriors, at the rate Horath improved over the past year, she could be in the running for a top-three finish or title contention next season.

"I believe we have four of the top-five returning golfers in 3A in Wyoming. I think it will be difficult for any team, any classification, to contend with us week in and week out. This team will have four guys that can go early 70s or lower on a weekly basis.

"I feel blessed to be able to coach them. If Jackson, Landen, Karsten and JT are all healthy in the fall, they will be the team to beat. We are going to keep doing what we are doing, because it has worked," said Rose. "This team is one of the lowest-scoring teams in the history of 3A. They just happen to be competing against the lowest-scoring team in history, in Lander Valley."

Added Rose, "We enjoy the competition and will miss it as they graduate a few strong pieces and are in rebuilding mode. I can't say enough about their players and coaching staff. What a class act."