Lady Tigers fall short in bid for state golf title


KEMMERER – The Niobrara County High School golf team wrapped up the 2020 season with a successful weekend in Kemmerer at the 2A State Golf Championships.

Four of the seven Tigers claimed All-State honors, and the girls fell just two shots short of a state championship. 

The host was Kemmerer High School and the Fossil Island Golf Course, and the course features two greens, the third and the fifth, that are completely surrounded by water. All but two holes have water in play and one of those two without water has out of bounds all down the left side of the fairway. Needless to say, the course was fraught with trouble.

The first day began with cool temperatures but warmed to the low 70s before the day was over. 

The Lady Tigers took advantage of the benign conditions and fired a season-low 351. Leading the way was sophomore Sierra Eaton, who bested her career mark by 11 shots to fire a 114. Seniors Joz Potter and Abby Kottwitz were close behind with 115 and 122, respectively. The Lady Tigers were just six shots out of first place after their first day performance. 

On the boys’ side, senior Ryan Bruegger continued his strong late season play. Bruegger, coming off career best rounds of 88 and 89 in the Lusk Invitational the week before, setting another career mark with an 87 to tie for third place on the first day.

Freshman Cory Bruegger, Camden Rose, and Gabe Matthews were challenged in their first state tournament. Learning an unfamiliar course along with the added pressure of the state tournament helped raise their scores. Cory Bruegger led the way with a 114, Rose fired a 130, and Matthews shot a 164.

Day two of the state tournament started with warmer weather but was followed with high winds, cool temperatures in the low 50’s and intermittent rain. The Tigers rose to the occasion and persevered through the challenging conditions. 

Potter rebounded with a 105, which included a final nine holes in just 49 strokes. Potter finished fourth with a 220, claiming All-State honors for the second straight year. Abby Kottwitz shot a career-best 113 to finish sixth with a two-day total of 235 and All-State honors. Playing in the group of the four best golfers, Sierra Eaton managed her nerves and shot a solid 126 for a two-day total of 240 and was also All-State, finishing ninth.

The Lady Tigers for the second day in a row shot a career best team score of 344 and finished runners-up to Sundance by two strokes.

Ryan Bruegger also got the opportunity to play with the four best golfers in the final pairing. 

He had a little trouble on the front nine, shooting a 47, but finished strong with a 44 for a 91. Ryan Bruegger’s two-day total of 178 solidified his second straight All-State performance, finishing third.

Cory Bruegger improved six shots and fired a 108, Camden Rose improved 13 shots with a 117, and Gabe Matthews knocked his score down 3 shots with a 161. 

The boys’ team improved 18 shots on day two and the freshman gained valuable experience for the future. 

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