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Steamboat senior golfers hope maturity takes them to state

Senior Colton Sankey tees off from the first hole at Haymaker at practice on Tuesday, Aug. 14.
Leah Vann

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Golf is a stressful sport, and when there’s only a five-week season, the pressure can add up.

In last year’s regional tournament, Steamboat Springs High School senior Colton Sankey sunk his first ball in the water, and the rest of the day seemed like an uphill battle.

“You know, that’s golf. Golfing is such a static sport. The ball doesn’t move. There’s no reaction. You’ve got time to really think about your nerves,” Sailors head golf coach Andrew Donner said. “It’s not the ball’s coming at you, and you’ve got to move, but that was a good experience for him. That was probably the biggest thing he’s ever played in.”

Sankey, one of five seniors on this year’s team, knows this will be his last shot to make it to state, and at a program with a long-term relationship with the state tournament, it’s likely.

“I think being there once will help and just being able to keep calm,” Sankey said. “And know this is my senior year, and it doesn’t mean too much in the long run; I might as well go out there and have some fun.”

Steamboat golf

Aug. 15: at Eagle Valley
Aug. 16: at Battle Mountain
Aug. 22-23: at Montrose
Aug. 28: at Rifle
Sept. 5: at Moffat County
Sept. 6: Home at Haymaker Golf Course, 8 a.m.
Sept. 13: at Summit

The Sailors have sent boys down to state in 17 of the last 18 years, and even the year they didn’t make it, Donner makes it clear the team had the talent.

“Regionals is always a way more stressful situation than state. State is kind of the reward,” Donner said. “Regionals you’ve got 18 holes to qualify. Those kids step on the tee at regionals, and they feel that pressure. You can step out of the car in the parking lot, and you feel the pressure in the parking lot. The kids who are normally talking and having fun before an event, they’re not talking and having fun. They’re real quiet, and they’re working hard on the range just to get out and play.”

And senior Jack Rotermund feeds on that competition, and it’s what he loves about golf.

“It’s all on me if it goes well, and it’s all on me if it goes bad,” Rotermund said. “I’m looking forward to state and putting a nice cap on my high school career.”

Rotermund’s confidence is a mental game. If he walks onto the course believing in his shots, he’ll do well.

But he has all the accolades to give him that confidence. He’s been to state twice and even knocked a hole-in-one at the 2016 4A Colorado State High School championships at River Valley Ranch Club.

His younger brother, sophomore Ollie Rotermund, also qualified for state last year and younger brother, Max, will start his high school career next year.

While the competition runs in the family, Jack Rotermund hopes to aid in a team qualification this season. Unlike Rotermund, seniors Frank Becker, Ben Dickson and Sankey do not plan on continuing their careers in golf past high school. They’re all in it for the love of the game, and that spirit has driven team participation across the board.

“We went through kind of a spell there where we were freshmen and sophomores,” Donner said. “It’s actually the first year in a while we’ve actually had seniors. When the juniors and seniors came through, they were big freshmen classes. It’s the first time in a few years we have an experienced golf team out here.”

Ten members of the Steamboat golf team will travel to Gypsum for their first tournament Aug. 15. Then, the team will leave for a tournament in Aspen on Thursday, staying overnight in Glenwood Springs before arriving Friday morning.

“We’ll see how the nerves go. Sometimes our first tournaments are great, and sometimes, they’re not,” Donner said. “The last couple years we had a slow start, but I have a pretty good feeling we’ll come out of the gates swinging this year.”

To reach Leah Vann, call 970-871-4253, email lvann@SteamboatToday.com or follow her on Twitter @LVann_Sports.


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