Mountain Lions take third at RMAC tournament

By Doug Fitzgerald published September 24, 2003

A final-round rally was good enough to allow the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs to defend its honor, but was not enough to defend its Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference golf crown.

The Mountain Lions shot a 290 Tuesday at Fox Hollow Golf Club in Lakewood, Colo., to move from fifth into a tie for third.

Only two other schools, Colorado State-Pueblo, which did it three times, and Regis (once) shot as good a single-round score in the tournament as CU-Colorado Springs managed in the final round.

Colorado State-Pueblo was dominant in winning the tournament with a three-round score of 856. Fort Lewis was second, 27 strokes back, while CU-Colorado Springs and Regis were 30 strokes out of the lead.

It was a difficult result for the Mountain Lions to swallow. CU-Colorado Springs won the 2002 RMAC championship by 25 strokes, then parlayed that momentum into a No. 10 national ranking. This yearâ€TMs RMAC tournament showed how far the Mountain Lions still have to go.

“Theyâ€TMre frustrated right now,” said coach Phil Trujillo shortly after his team left the course. “Their heads are hanging because they know they can play better.”

They also have very big shoes to fill. The three most consistent performers from last yearâ€TMs team, Marc Hocking, Jon Olson and Nick Babl, were all seniors and have moved on.

“I knew coming in losing a lot of talent I knew it was going to be a struggle, but nothing to this extent,” said Trujillo. “We have the talent, weâ€TMre just not playing very well right now. Weâ€TMre making small steps to improve, but I didnâ€TMt anticipate having such a slow start to the season.”

Nick Van Etten was the most consistent player for CU-Colorado Springs, shooting rounds of 71, 73 and 73 to finish fifth overall. Mark Ruybalid was next with a 221, which tied him for 10th. Not surprisingly, Van Etten and Ruybalid played in several high-pressure tournaments last season.

“Itâ€TMs just a matter of youth and inexperience,” said Trujillo. “As we play more tournaments, weâ€TMll get better.”

Chase Wortmann (21st), J.P. Wertz (26th) and Trent Daum (29th) rounded out the CU-Colorado Springs scorecard.

“Itâ€TMs hard for me to see the scores these young men are putting up because we know they can do so much better,” said Trujillo, referring to his teamâ€TMs inconsistent scores that saw as many as eight strokes difference from one round to another. He was, however, encouraged by the Mountain Lionsâ€TM outstanding third round.

“I think this was a great improvement,” he said. “Weâ€TMre in good position to go forward.”

CSU-Pueblo took the top two individual spots, with Travis Morton shooting a spectacular 10-under-par 205 for first place, and Josh Koschke carding a 213 for second. Cole Nondorf of Fort Hays State and Kyle Byerly of Adams State each shot 216 to tie for third.

Despite the disappointment of losing the RMAC crown, Trujillo feels the tournament will be a stepping-stone for better results later in the season.

We just have to prepare ourselves better,” said Trujillo. “Itâ€TMs not going to just happen, we have to make it happen.”

UCCS Players/Staff Featured

Mark RuybalidMark Ruybalid
Mark RuybalidMark Ruybalid
Mark RuybalidMark Ruybalid
Mark RuybalidMark Ruybalid
Nicholas Van ettenNicholas Van etten
Nicholas Van ettenNicholas Van etten
Nicholas Van ettenNicholas Van etten
Nicholas Van ettenNicholas Van etten
Chase WortmannChase Wortmann
Chase WortmannChase Wortmann
Chase WortmannChase Wortmann
Chase WortmannChase Wortmann
Trenton DaumTrenton Daum
Trenton DaumTrenton Daum
Trenton DaumTrenton Daum
Trenton DaumTrenton Daum
Trenton DaumTrenton Daum
J.P. WertzJ.P. Wertz
J.P. WertzJ.P. Wertz
J.P. WertzJ.P. Wertz
Marc HockingMarc Hocking
Nicolas BablNicolas Babl
Jonathan OlsonJonathan Olson
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