by Gary Baines- 11/8/2017
When it comes to top high school athletes often choosing to stay close to home to play college sports, a couple of reasons are among those often cited.
The athletes usually enjoy staying in the area where they grew up, and family and friends have more opportunity to watch their loved ones compete when college is nearby.
And it doesn't hurt when some local college programs are highly regarded and competitive.
With that as a backdrop, some of the best junior golfers from Colorado and/or members of the Junior Golf Alliance of Colorado are making their college choices official during the National Letter of Intent early-signing period, which started on Wednesday and continues for eight days.
At least 13 Coloradans or JGAC members are expected to play college golf for NCAA Division I programs starting next fall. Eight of those 13 are heading to Colorado-based programs, with another two bound for the nearby University of Wyoming in Laramie.
Here's the rundown of the Colorado/JGAC Class of 2018 commitments (the list of signees/commitments here will be updated through the coming week. Additions to the list can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org):
Davis Bryant (Eaglecrest HS) -- Colorado State
Jack Castiglia (Lakewood HS) -- Northern Colorado
Kirby Coe-Kirkham (JGAC member from Sheridan, Wyo.) -- Wyoming
Freddie Gluck (Boulder HS) -- Rochester in New York
Gabe Goodman (Green Mountain HS) -- Concordia in New York
Oliver Jack (Kent Denver HS) -- University of Colorado
Barrett Jones (Eagle Valley HS) -- Northern Colorado
Brayden Lambrecht (Sterling HS) -- Colorado Mesa
Cal McCoy (Regis Jesuit HS) -- University of Denver
Sam Ostravich (ThunderRidge HS) -- Northeastern Junior College in Sterling
Ryan Pierce (Doherty HS) -- Bethany College in Kansas
Micah Ramirez (Resurrection Christian HS) -- Doane University in Nebraska
Kailer Rundiks (Denver East HS) -- Western New Mexico
Tyler Severin (Roosevelt HS) -- Wyoming
Ian Thorpe (Peak to Peak HS) -- Iona College in New Rochelle, N.Y.
Luke Trujillo (Discovery Canyon HS) -- Air Force Academy
Payton Canon (Cherry Creek HS) -- Oregon Tech
Kyree Conaway (Vista Peak HS) -- Wagner College in New York
Kayla Elder (Fort Collins HS) -- Chadron State in Nebraska
Arielle Keating (former Colorado Springs resident) -- Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton
Shelby Poynter (JGAC member from Scottsbluff, Neb.) -- Northern Colorado
Kelsey Webster (Fairview HS) -- University of Colorado
Lauren Murphy (Rocky Mountain High School) -- Oregon State
Natasha Brandy McClain (Rock Canyon High School) -- Colorado Mesa University
(In addition, Jessica Zapf of Windsor has committed to the University of Wyoming as part of the incoming college class of 2019.)
Bryant (CSU; pictured above) was the 2017 boys JGAC Player of the Year, and Jack (CU) and Trujillo (Air Force Academy) join him in having won state high school individual titles. Bryant and McCoy (DU) were both members of Colorado's Junior America's Cup team this year.
On the girls side, Webster (left) was the 2016 girls JGAC Most Improved Player and she won the girls AJGA Preview title this year in Wisconsin. She's headed to CU -- her dad's alma mater -- in her hometown of Boulder. Keating (Florida Atlantic) moved from Colorado Springs to Stuart, Fla., shortly after winning the girls Colorado Junior Amateur championship this year. And Poynter (UNC) qualified for this year's U.S. Girls' Junior.
In addition, here are the players -- both from in-state and elsewhere -- who have signed or committed to play at Colorado-based NCAA Division I schools from the Class of 2018:
University of Colorado Women
Malak Bouraeda, Southlake, Texas
Kelsey Webster, Fairview HS in Boulder
Colorado State University Women
Sydney Smith, Las Vegas, Nev.
Saga Traustadottir, Iceland
University of Denver Women
Alyson Beach, Murrieta, Calif.
Trussy Li, Diamond Bar, Calif.
Air Force Academy Men
Jonathan Farmer, San Diego
Luke Trujillo, Discovery Canyon HS in Colorado Springs
University of Colorado Men
Oliver Jack, Kent Denver HS
Adam Matteson, San Diego
Kristoffer Max, Denmark
John Paterson, Scotland
Colorado State University Men
Davis Bryant, Eaglecrest HS in Aurora
Akedanai Ponghathaikul, Thailand
Oscar Teiffel, Sweden
University of Denver Men
Carson Griggs, Sand Springs, Okla.
Cal McCoy, Regis Jesuit HS in Aurora
Esteban Missura, Ecuador
University of Northern Colorado Men
Jack Castiglia, Lakewood HS
Barrett Jones, Eagle Valley HS in Gypsum
And FYI, looking ahead to next year's signings, CU has garnered a commitment from Canon Olkowski of Grand Junction as part of the Class of 2019. Olkowski is the brother of current CU player Trevor Olkowski.