Steamboat boys golf makes history, places 2nd at state
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — For the first time since 2002, the Steamboat Springs High School boys golf team brought home a plaque from the Class 4A State Tournament.
The Sailors team of seniors Jack Rotermund and Colton Sankey, junior Tommy Henninger and sophomore Ollie Rotermund claimed second overall at the Flying Horse Country Club in Colorado Springs. The team finished just eight strokes behind first-place Montrose and 11 strokes ahead of Palmer Ridge.
“It means a lot,” head coach Andrew Donner said. “To know Ski Town USA is able to place in golf, and 16 years later, we were able to pull through again and get second. It says a lot about the boys, how hard they work and how much effort they put in.”
Steamboat Springs, although competing as a team, did not qualify after regionals. The Sailors had missed the team qualification by coming in third, but since all four players placed well enough individually, they were able to compete as a team at state.
Jack Rotermund paced the Sailors, tying for fourth place individually. After carding a 73, just one over par in the first day of competition, Jack put himself in position as one of the top competitors. He added a 76-stroke performance the second day to finish just five over par in 36 holes of competition.
“I really tried not to think about it that much,” Jack said. “I was playing in the final group — there’s a lot of pressure that comes with that. I just try to block that out, and at the end of the day, that’s what puts you in contention.”
It was his best performance ever at state; the perfect way to graduate from the Steamboat program.
“It’s really cool to have my final high school tournament end this way,” Jack said. “The team placing means more than all the individual stuff, though. It’s so cool to be able to come to state and say that we got second at a state tournament, especially coming from a ski town, we definitely contended with Montrose.”
Jack’s performance was backed by a strong putting game, something he’s been working on ahead of competitive tournaments like regionals and state.
“He putted fantastically — the best I’ve seen in his high school career,” Donner said. “That’s pretty great to produce your best golf at the state tournament. The seniors put extra pressure on themselves, and to produce at a high level, that says a lot about the player.”
Ollie was second for the Sailors, taking 10th overall with nine strokes over par after carding 77 on the first day and 76 on the second.
“A lot of the state courses are very hard, and there’s 36 holes,” Ollie said. “You’ve got to stay patient no matter what. Things can go bad, and things can go good. You’ve got to accept that. It’s good I played as well as I did.”
This was Ollie’s second trip to state. Last year, Ollie and Jack were the only Sailors who qualified.
“It was fun to get 10th, but it felt a little bit better getting the team runner-up,” Ollie said. “I was a freshman (last year). I was kind of nervous the entire time. Now that I am a sophomore, I had the experience to take in the moment and not be scared of it.”
Like Ollie, Henninger can use this experience to build upon. Henninger finished 14th overall at 13 strokes over par. Over the course of the season, Henninger had struggled hitting straight with his irons and noted difficulty with his driver last week.
But it all fell into place at the state tournament.
“It was just amazing,” Henninger said. “We didn’t qualify as a team; we all qualified individually. It gives me some confidence going into the next year knowing I am capable of going to state and being a top contender on our team.”
Capping off the Sailors team was Sankey, who made his first state appearance as a senior. Sankey put on a 79-stroke performance the first day and 92 the second.
Sankey doesn’t consider himself a golfer but made it his goal to make the state tournament after last year’s regionals. He admits that while the sports is more of a hobby, his experience with the team has been a meaningful part of his high school career.
“It just felt like one more tournament,” Sankey said. “But on that last green, it was pretty emotional knowing those were going to be my last strokes as a high school golfer.”
While the experience was special, Donner thinks it won’t be the last.
“Our team is headed in a nice sustainable direction,” Donner said. “Some of our sophomores made a turn this year, look down across the board varsity this year as they’re getting older. I think our golf program has a pretty bright future.”
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