Ryan Willmot doesn’t feel his golf talent has peaked, and that’s a good thing as far as Rocky Mountain High School is concerned.
He’s the lone senior on what’s otherwise a young Rocky boys golf team and the ace of the bunch. Willmot has been through it all with the Lobos, playing varsity as a freshman in 2009, and finally made his first appearance in the individual state tournament last fall, but this season is his final chance to leave a mark on the Rocky program and he plans to imprint a large one.
“Our team is still pretty young. We don’t quite have the experience of the other teams like from Denver and stuff like that, so we’re really just trying to build players for when they’re seniors,” Willmot said. “For me, I’ll be the only senior, so I guess it’s just my time to put it in gear.”
Matt Bell, who will be a junior this season, also qualified for state last fall.
Rocky finished middle-of-the-pack last season in the Front Range League, but coach Charlie Ross said he’s not as concerned about where the Lobos place in their 12-team league this fall. Instead, he’s focusing on how the team plays toward the end of the season at the regional tournament, because winning conference but slipping up at regionals means a missed trip to state.
“It’s all about getting ready for regionals, as far as I’m concerned, and making improvements,” Ross said. “That’s when a kid who hasn’t had a very good year can do well in the sixth-, seventh week of the season and qualify for state. That’s what we’re here for.”
New this year is the tournament format for Front Range League schools. As a 12-team league (divided into two divisions), it was difficult for all schools to get a grasp on competition, making all-conference player selections even more tough. This year, most league matches will be played with every school in attendance using a shotgun format, including today’s season-opener at Highland Meadows, the Fossil Ridge Invitational. Ross said he’s looking forward to the new format.