It was a rough first day in the chase for a Class 4A Colorado championship.
On the other hand, they remain in position for at least runner-up.
Mullen’s Mustangs stand fifth after Monday’s opening round at The Bridges Golf Club in Montrose.
The Mustangs are at 25-over par, 21 shots behind leader and two-time defending champion Montrose. In between are Pueblo West (18-over), Windsor (21-over) and Durango (24-over).
Individually, junior Mario Dino heads the Mustangs at 6-over 77. He is tied at 22nd behind leader and defending champion Micah Stangbye, who fired a very tidy, bogey-free 4-under 67.
The remaining Mustangs are in line -- Rhett Johnson is at 9-over, Eli Marquez 10-over and Cole Reister 11-over.
Dino negotiated The Bridges at 39-38; Johnson 43-37; Marquez 39-42; and Reister 42-40.
Johnson had three birdies, including two on the front nine; Dino managed a birdie on each side; and Marquez and Reister each had one.
At the top, Stangbye turned in a sparkling 34-33 with four birdies. He has a three-shot lead over two others.
The field will be back at it today in the final round.
In boys soccer, Mullen handled Cherokee Trail 4-2 in Centennial League play at Legacy Stadium in Aurora.
The Mustangs improved to 7-2-1 overall, 2-0-1 in league and are 5-0-1 in their last six matches.
They were 8-8 a year ago.
Junior A.J. Gamueda scored twice and Andrew DeBerardinis and Luke Elges each had one. Gamueda, Nolan Cooper and Cody Muir had the assists.
In goal, sophomore keeper Ethan Heffern turned in nine saves.
“It’s great,” Mustangs head coach Matthew Guglielmo said. “(The Wolves are) down a little bit this year, but are still a good team. I won’t tell you we played our best. We were good in spurts.”
The coach added that “we had a lot of good opportunities where we just didn’t put the ball away when we needed to … (but) ultimately, we have four and they have two.”
Cherokee Trail is 2-7-2, 0-2-1.
Next for Mullen is a match against defending 5A state champion Arapahoe (7-3-1, 1-1-1). It’s slated for home, 4:30 p.m., Thursday, when the first snowstorm of the season is being forecast.
Guglielmo said officials will be watching the weather and the match will be handled accordingly.
In volleyball, Mullen halted an eight-match losing streak with a 25-14, 25-23, 25-20 over Aurora's Smoky Hill in league.
The Mustangs are 7-8, 1-5. Their streaky season took another turn – they won their first six matches, dropped their next eight and now have begun what they hope will be another winning binge.
Sydney Wills led the Mustangs with six of their 25 kills and Macy Schiefelbein added five.
Mullen will wrap up the regular league schedule on Thursday, when it will visit Overland in Aurora,
6:30 p.m. League-seeded matches will take the Mustangs through the end of the month.