Steamboat Springs High School golfer Brandon Martin warms up on the driving range before heading out at Haymaker Golf Course on Wednesday. The high school team is slated to open the season at Battlement Mesa on Thursday.

Photo by John F. Russell

Steamboat Springs High School golfer Brandon Martin warms up on the driving range before heading out at Haymaker Golf Course on Wednesday. The high school team is slated to open the season at Battlement Mesa on Thursday.

Steamboat golf team swings into new season

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— On Wednesday morning, Steamboat Springs senior Erik Sobeck was on the driving range at Haymaker Golf Course talking about the upcoming school year. But he wasn’t complaining.

“I’m really excited to be back, and I’m really excited about this season,” Sobeck said.

While most seniors are enjoying the final few days of summer break, for Sobeck and his teammates, the summer officially ended Monday when high school golf practice began.

In fact, Sobeck, Casey Weston, Brandon Martin, Spencer Petersen, Will Firestone and Andrew Firestone left Wednesday afternoon to compete in the first tournament of the season Thursday at Battlement Mesa.

It’s a start to a season that the players and coaches are excited to see unfold.

“This year’s squad is one of the best groups of kids that I’ve ever had,” coach Steve Dodson said. “Not just in terms of talent but in the type of kids that they are. They will represent their school and our town well.”

Only time will tell how much talent this team has.

“These guys are all friends. They play together and push one another to compete during the school year and in the offseason," Dodson said. "It’s been fun to watch them compete this week.”

Weston understands that how this team measures up will be determined by its results on the course this season. His goal is for steady improvement and more consistency.

To get there, however, he knows he will have to get past the opening-day jitters.

“I think I get more nervous about the first tournament of the season than all the others combined," Weston said. “Well, maybe not regionals.”

Sobeck has similar hopes this season. He wants to see the team push through the opener and gain momentum as the season unfolds.

“We need to be more consistent than we’ve been the past couple of years,” Sobeck said. “If we can do that, I think we will win some tournaments, and who knows, we might even win the regional.”

Coach Dodson wasn’t ready to go that far Wednesday, but he thinks this team has a lot of potential. He said that he plans to carry seven golfers on the varsity team and that the hardest part might be deciding which four get a shot at the regional tournament. This year's golf program has 18 players who will make up varsity, junior varsity and practice squads.

“It’s going to be a difficult choice this year,” Dodson said. “There are going to be some broken hearts when I have to make those choices.”

But until then, the coach is hoping that the intrasquad rivalry will push the golfers to the highest level. Dodson said he plans to evaluate the team every week, and he isn’t afraid to move the golfers between varsity and junior varsity based on performance. His main goal is making sure Steamboat is represented at the state tournament — something this group missed out on last season.

To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209 or email jrussell@SteamboatToday.com

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