Sailors qualify

Franks, Sherrill lead team to state tournament

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— Jeff Franks, meet Kenton Gamache.

He likes golfing in the cold just like you which came in handy Wednesday.

He doesn't wear a shell necklace or a green stocking hat like you do when he plays, but Gamache shot in the 70s just like you did Wednesday, proving to be the difference as the Steamboat Springs golf team won the Western Regionals to earn a trip to the state tournament at the Boomerang Golf Course in Greeley Sept. 30 and Oct. 1.

Rifle finished second to advance as well.

"Our big question was how to fill that third spot," coach Jason Deigert said. "Kenton stepped up and did it."

Gamache said he hadn't really thought about being the key to the Sailors' success as a team, but he was glad to help out.

"I knew I had to go in the 70s for us to have a good chance," Gamache said.

Back in August, while firing golf balls down the driving range at Catamount, Franks said this season would be about him returning to state to improve upon his third-place finish. Senior Cody Sherrill said he was going to follow Franks to the state meet.

They planned to be the only two wearing SSHS to go.

Franks said he still felt that way Wednesday morning while he and Sherrill were warming up on Haymaker's driving range.

"I said, 'Me and you can go to state and we'll chill,'" Franks said to Sherrill.

Things started to change Wednesday afternoon when Gamache's 79 and Sherrill's 77 remained two of the lower rounds on the leaderboard with scores pouring in and Franks still out on the course just over par.

Coming up to the green on 18, Franks, who doesn't like to know any standings while playing, was told he could miss his three-foot putt for birdie, and he would still advance to state along with his team.

"That took a little pressure off," Franks said.

He sunk his birdie putt, high-fived his coach and teammates and signed his scorecard with a 73.

"It's nice to win this," Franks said.

Last year, with high expectations, the Sailors counted three scores in the 70s and failed to advance to state as a team. This year, despite being on its home course, the fingers were crossed. Steamboat received three scores in the 70s and won by five strokes.

"I knew it was a possibility," Deigert said. "I wasn't expecting it. We'll certainly enjoy this victory. It's a great accomplishment for these guys."

While Franks and Sherrill were counting on making it to state Franks' 73 and Sherrill's 77 would have qualified them individually had the team failed to make it Gamache and Ryan Brees, who fired an 84 at Regionals, were just as important.

Sherrill said when he saw that Brees shot a 77 in Tuesday's practice round, it gave him confidence the team had a chance to advance. When Sherrill came in with a 77 and Gamache came in officially with a 79 on Wednesday, the smiles, though premature, were hard to remove from the faces of those Sailors in the clubhouse.

Gamache, a late addition to the roster after moving from Dallas one week before school started, was just happy to be on the team.

In fact, Franks, who played limited early season tournaments with football practice and his own outside tournaments, found out about Gamache when Deigert mentioned the new kid was coming on a tournament.

"I was like, 'Who's that?'" Franks said. "I didn't even know he moved here."

Franks met Gamache and they, along with Sherrill and Brees, are all headed to state the most coveted destination in high school golf.

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