By Myers Reece, 9-06-12
||Caption: Shea Stevens, center left, and Hannah Davis, right, walk with fellow Glacier High School golfers to the south side of the driving range during a practice at Big Mountain Golf Club. Lido Vizzutti | Flathead Beacon
Four years ago, Kaydee Aurich was shooting in the 150s for a single round. Recently, she shot 171 – over the course of two rounds, tallying 85 in the first and 86 in the second. Aurich tries to put a 70-stroke improvement into appropriate terms.
“It’s crazy,” she said.
Aurich’s evolution as a golfer mirrors that of her fellow seniors Shea Stevens and Hannah Davis, who have also been in the Glacier High School golf program for four years. Their collective maturation is directly linked to the program’s maturation as a whole.
While Glacier’s boys team won the Class AA state championship in its first year and has finished no lower than third since the program began in 2007, the girls started out near the bottom of the standings and have been slowly crawling to the top.
The boys managed to completely bypass the usual struggles of a fledgling program. But the girls have followed a more traditional program-building path. And now, after years of steady growth, the girls have emerged as legitimate state championship contenders this fall.
For Aurich, that might be as crazy as her own 70-stroke improvement.
“It’s really incredible because we all started out as freshmen and we were all so bad – we were terrible,” Aurich said. “To see us mature, not only as golfers but as people, we’ve become like a family. We love each other.”
And the newest addition to that family may be the final piece to the championship puzzle: freshman phenom Teigan Avery. Avery recently won the seven-team Glacier Invitational by 18 strokes over teammates Stevens and Davis. She shot 76 each round.
“In my mind, Teigan is the best player in the state,” head coach Rob Logsdon said. “I think she’s the most talented and the most golf savvy.”
Logsdon is impressed at how well the girls have gelled, specifically with the seniors taking Avery under their wing.
“In a situation like that, it could be adversarial but they’ve been excited,” he said. “I think they’re learning a lot from Teigan and Teigan’s learning a lot from them.”
Glacier High School senior golfer Shea Stevens digs a shot out of the sand during a recent practice at Big Mountain Golf Course. Lido Vizzutti | Flathead Beacon
Logsdon said Davis, Stevens and Aurich are a special group: enjoyable to be around, liked by competitors and driven to improve.
“That’s the best core group of girls I’ve ever had the privilege of coaching,” he said. “I’m going to miss those girls a lot.”
Glacier’s girls proved their newfound contender status when they placed second at the Great Falls invitational, two strokes behind Billings West and one stroke in front of Billings Senior. The Billings teams are considered the state’s two other best teams.
After battling up the standings for so many years, Davis doesn’t expect the girls to lose their focus now even if they’re in a new role as a frontrunner.
“We need to remember how much we’ve experienced,” Davis said. “We’ve never been in this position. This is new for us to be one of the top teams. We need to go into it with an open mind, stay calm and stay patient. Don’t get ourselves psyched out.”
Aurich adds this: “We need to go out and have fun.”
The boys are in a familiar position as one of the frontrunners, though this year they may be the definitive frontrunner. Seniors Ryan Porch and Logan Iverson, arguably the two best players in the state, lead a talented group that has seven or eight golfers capable of averaging in the 70s.
Glacier High School senior golfer Hannah Davis practices her chip shots at Big Mountain Golf Course. Lido Vizzutti | Flathead Beacon
“They’re definitely talented enough,” Logsdon said. “They’ve been so close the last couple of years. They’re excited.”
Porch, who has finished second at state the past two years, recently won the Glacier Invitational by 11 strokes over Iverson and Flathead’s Ryan Keenan after shooting 71 and 67. In May, Iverson won the prestigious Barnett Memorial Day golf tournament in Missoula.
After finishing second twice and third once, Glacier’s seniors are singularly focused on winning a state title this year. With Porch, Iverson and a deep rotation of golfers who could be the No. 1 players on many other teams, the boys look poised to bring those seniors their long-awaited championship.
“We’re definitely expecting a state championship,” Iverson said. “Anything less than that would be disappointing. But it definitely won’t be easy.”
Glacier’s boys won the Glacier Invitational by 42 strokes – 603 to 645 – over Missoula Hellgate. The girls beat second-place Polson by 82 strokes, 663 to 745.
The boys haven’t lost this year, including a victory at the Great Falls Invitational over the next closest finishers, Billings Skyview and Billings West, considered two of the top challengers to Glacier.
Porch shot a 70-67 for a two-round total of 137 to beat Iverson and Whitefish’s Arthur Doorn, both at 72-69–141. Avery finished second by one stroke, shooting 79-76–155.
Avery knows how fortunate she is to have Davis, Aurich and Stevens as teammates. It’s a special opportunity, and it will only last for a season.
“This is the year to go big or go home,” Avery said. “We’re definitely going for a state championship.”
[End of article]