Summit High School golf finishes 2nd at regionals, qualifies as a team for state for the 1st time in 9 years

Ranger Stone, from left, Tyler Nakos, Ryley Cibula and Ricky Ahlquist pose for a celebratory photo after finishing runner-up as a team at Tuesday's regional golf tournament at Green Valley Ranch Golf Club in Denver.
Photo from Summit Tigers golf

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to include the last time the Tigers golf team qualified for state.

DILLON — The Summit High School golf team finished as runner-up at Tuesday’s 4A Region 4 golf tournament at Green Valley Ranch Golf Club in Denver, securing the Tigers their first team qualification to the state tournament in nearly a decade.

“They’re only taking two out of 14 teams to state from today, so that’s pretty special,” first-year head coach Ryne Scholl said.

Summit senior Ryley Cibula posted the low Tigers score on the day with a third place 76. Cibula, who is a veteran of the state tournament and was one of three Tigers to qualify as individuals last season, did not mince words about what led the Tigers to a team qualification for the first time since 2011.

“I knew we had a chance, and having Tyler (Nakos) made the difference,” Cibula said. “If that’s any other kid we would have brought, it would have been five to six shots higher, and we beat Steamboat by five strokes. Having him got us into states.”

Cibula’s statement is not a slight to some of Summit’s other top golfers. Guys like Jackson True, Zach Carleton and Rece Greff proved earlier this season that they could shoot rounds to contend at regionals. But the senior Nakos — who returned to Summit due to COVID-19 after attending IMG Academy in Florida last year to play golf — is a rare talent.

Nakos only recently joined the team for competition after he said a COVID-19 quarantine forced him to miss about two weeks. In a shortened golf season, that meant the majority of tournaments. Once he returned Sept. 14 at Aspen, Nakos’ third-place score of 79 was evidence Summit could play with any team in the region.

On Tuesday, Cibula’s third place 76 combined with Nakos’s ninth-place score of 82 and junior Ricky Ahlquist’s 86 to earn the Tigers a team score of 244. Summit’s fourth golfer, junior Ranger Stone, shot a 91 on Tuesday.

“It means everything,” Cibula said about qualifying to state as a team. “That’s the whole goal. … Going into the year, I knew we had a chance. But I’m still in shock, honestly.”

Cibula played three strokes better than he did at last year’s regional after bogeying his first hole Tuesday on the 17th green. From there, though, Scholl said Cibula played “more within himself” than the coach had ever seen before.

Cibula steadied his play, including playing 1-under par from the fourth hole through the 11th hole, to power Summit to the edge over rival Steamboat. On its home course, Montrose won the tournament with its top three players combining for a 236 while Summit’s trio scored 244, ahead of Steamboat (249).

Scholl and Cibula said the win over Steamboat meant a lot to a program that hasn’t had much success against the Sailors in recent years. In order to pull it off, Cibula said Scholl instructed the senior vet to approach the final four holes against his Steamboat playing partner as match play.

The one-on-one approach worked out perfectly, Cibula said, as did Scholl’s strategy for the tournament. The coach had the Tigers foursome play the course twice beforehand. He also mapped out the course’s greens and pin placement for each golfer.

“We worked the hardest to understand the greens complexities,” Scholl said. “We worked to understand where to leave ourselves the most opportunity for room for error.”

Scholl said that as well as Nakos played Tuesday — especially off the tee box — he could have played better, as he had a triple bogey on his third hole of the day. That hole, No. 18, also happened to be the final hole in what Scholl regarded as the most difficult stretch of the course. It was on the course’s final holes where each Tiger started their day, between 16 and 18, and Scholl saw that as an opportunity. It certainly was for Nakos, who the coach said played as well as any player on the day outside of his poor start.

Now, the Tigers are headed to the Country Club of Colorado in Colorado Springs for the state tournament Oct. 4-6. There, Scholl and the team believe anything might be possible.

“We are just super happy to be out here,” Nakos said. “At the beginning of the season, we didn’t know if we’d be able to play in any tournaments. So having this opportunity, it’s just awesome that we all worked together today.”

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

As a Summit Daily News reader, you make our work possible.

Summit Daily is embarking on a multiyear project to digitize its archives going back to 1989 and make them available to the public in partnership with the Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection. The full project is expected to cost about $165,000. All donations made in 2023 will go directly toward this project.

Every contribution, no matter the size, will make a difference.