‘My favorite thing about our team’: Sailors boys golf is a state contender in 2021
Earlier this week, Steamboat Springs junior Colin Kagan had the best round of golf in his life.
On the second day of varsity competition Thursday in Montrose, Kagan shot a 71, good for one under par and second place. Combined with his 78 from the day before, it was his best two days of golf.
“It means that if I can start off like that, I can get better and go lower and do a lot better,” Kagan said. “It’s huge to see that.”
The start of the season wasn’t just historic for Kagan, but the entire team. As long as head coach Andrew Donner can remember, the team has had a tough start to the season. Not in 2021. The Sailors boys golf team took third Wednesday and second on Thursday thanks to not only Kagan but a few other consistent golfers.
Junior Jeremy Nolting and sophomore Michael Dinapoli contributed to the success with top-10 finishes Wednesday. Senior Travis Seitz found his groove on day two, swinging for 78 and seventh place.
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“The last four or five years, our starts to the seasons have been pretty rough compared to what I think we’re capable of,” Donner said. “It was really encouraging to see. There was good competition, and I thought we fared competitively. We lost to Montrose … by four, which means we were right there. That’s one shot per kid. That’s really very little when it comes to golf.”
The best part of the season opener was losing to defending state champion Montrose by just four strokes. If Steamboat can play at the level it did this week at state, they could very well win it. Of course, state is weeks away, scheduled for Oct. 4-5 at City Park Golf Course in Denver.
“I expect us to be a pretty strong squad,” Donner said. “We’re a year older, a year bigger, a year stronger. We’ve already seen the results from it. I think there’s no reason we can’t go out and compete at a high level.”
Nolting and Kagan have been to one state tournament, while Seitz has been to two. They bring a lot of experience and expertise to the squad.
“Right now, as a team, I feel like we’re breathing down Montrose’s back,” Seitz. “They’re finally starting to realize we can beat them.”
Nolting, Dinapoli, Kagan and Seitz were the regional golfers last year, but there’s no guarantee they’ll earn the top spots again this year. Donner said there are at least two others vying for those positions.
“Our top guys, we’re all doing pretty good,” Nolting said. “We had a really good start to the year and proved ourselves as leaders.”
After those top six, there is a bit of a drop off to the younger kids, but the beauty of the Sailors golf team is it’s one welcoming group. Donner said the upperclassmen are natural leaders and make the younger players feel included.
“One thing I’ve always been really proud of has nothing to do with how they play,” Donner said. “They bring the younger kids into the team. I think they’re great at it. I’ve always noticed that. … That’s my favorite thing about our team.”
Aug. 11-12 at Montrose, 3rd and 2nd
Aug. 16 - at Aspen, 2nd
Aug. 17 - at River Valley Ranch, 1st
Aug. 24 - at Eagle Valley, 2nd
Aug. 31 - Bears Invitational, 4th
Sept. 7 - Vail Mountain School Invitational, 2nd
Sept. 13 - at Moffat County, 1st
Sept. 14 - home event at Haymaker, 1st
Sept. 16 - Keystone Ranch Invitational
Sept. 21 - Regionals at Montrose
To reach Shelby Reardon, call 970-871-4253, email sreardon@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @ByShelbyReardon.
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