High hopes for season | SteamboatToday.com

High hopes for season

Golfers focus on team goals, making it to state tourney

The idea of winning a state golf title lingers in the minds of Steamboat Springs High School seniors Ryan Brees and Kenton Gamache.

Two years ago, the duo was part of a team that finished second to Mullen at the state finals. That year, Jeff Franks and Cody Sherrill provided the senior leadership.

These days, the 2002 state tournament and Steamboat’s second-place finish is just a fading memory. Both players are focused on their team’s opportunities this year.

“Golf is full of ifs,” Gamache said. “What if I had done this or he had done that. You can’t focus on those things.”

Instead, the team will focus on getting back to the state’s biggest high school tournament and getting another shot at the title.

Brees and Gamache will join forces with Paul Berry and transfer student Hans-Peter Bacher to form one of the most promising squads Steamboat has had. State veteran Tucker Smalley, who is out with a broken left arm, is hoping to be back in time for the second part of the season and could be a factor before the regional tournament. Until then, a few younger players will get a chance to show the coaches what they can do.

New coach Steve Dodson is thrilled to have a strong core of talented players returning but admits it has presented him with tough decisions.

Twenty-five players came out last Monday hoping to earn a spot on the varsity or junior varsity team. Unfortunately, because of staffing issues Dodson said he only would be able to keep 18 of those players on this year’s roster.

“I had a bunch of really good kids who came out for this team, and I wish I could keep them all,” Dodson said. “But that wouldn’t be fair to the team or to them.”

But despite the cut, Dodson said he will do everything possible to support any player who has hopes of making the team and improving.

He plans to open Friday practices to non-team members, and he also is willing to work in the off-season to help the players make the improvements they need to make the team. The last thing he wants to do is discourage players who have, or might develop, a love for the game.

The team opened play with a second-place finish at Battlement Mesa on Thursday, and followed that up with a third-place finish Friday at Rifle Creek.

The team is scheduled to play at the Bookcliff Country Club and Tiara Rado in Grand Junction this week.

In all the team will play in 13 tournaments this season, including an event at the Haymaker Golf Course in Steamboat Springs on Sept. 8 and at the Yampa Valley Golf Course in Craig on Sept. 9.

Regionals will take place at Battlement Mesa on Sept. 23, and the state tournament will take place in Colorado Springs on Oct. 4.

–To reach John F. Russell call 871-4209 or e-mail jrussell@steamboatpilot.com

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