The Evergreen golf team isn’t quite through the Looking Glass, but things are looking a bit unusual.
Traditionally, the Cougars can boast one — sometimes more — standout-caliber golfers who will lead a team of steady talent into contention for the Class 4A Jefferson County League title. They’ve been successful, but teams that have had more glue than star power have also bested them when it mattered.
This season, Cougars coach Mike Kuzava thinks his team will journey to the other side.
"We have four No. 1s, because I have four or five guys who are all at about the same level, unlike previous years we’ve had one or two player who were really the top players," Kuzava said. "This year we don’t have that for the first time in quite some time because the guys we have returning are solid, but they’re not spectacular."
"I’m looking forward to it," he said. "In the past, we’ve been beaten by team efforts when we’ve had standouts, so I’m wondering if we’re going to turn the tables."
Forget the Tiger, it’s time for some Y.E. Yang.
The Cougars’ top quartet this season looks to be seniors Tate Berry and Adam Reifman, junior Taylor Shillingburg and sophomore Adam Zuckerman.
"They’re all right around the same scoring average," Kuzava said. "I anticipated they’ll do pretty well. They are kind of all interchangeable right now as far as we see it."
That group concept continues for the Cougars, who figure to chase defending league champions D’Evelyn for the top spot. Freshman Tanner Tremaine, junior Luke Schultz and senior Garrett McBride will all probably see time and push for more time as the varsity No. 5.
While local 5A Jeffco coaches have verified lower participation numbers for golf this month, the Cougars have seen the opposite. Kuzava said that 32 golfers tried out for the team, compared to 18 last year. Kuzava is keeping 24 and breaking them into two teams of 12 in an effort to inspire more competition and help some of the younger players realize their potential.
Potential and expectation are something Kuzava and the Cougars have molded into tradition.
"We’re always going to be a favorite I think, and that’s OK," Kuzava said. "Nothing wrong with that. We just have to live up to the expectations."