Steamboat Springs golf team struggles at regionals in Cortez |

Steamboat Springs golf team struggles at regionals in Cortez

Luke Graham

— The reality of high school golf can be harsh.

The regular season means little. For most players, it comes down to one tournament on one day. Play well there and state is ahead. Falter — despite successes during the regular season — and it's over.

The Steamboat Springs High School golf team found out Tuesday at Conquistador Golf Course in Cortez just how harsh the format is.

Despite having two players who won tournaments during the regular season, and two more that seemed like good bets to make state, the Sailors failed to qualify a golfer for state for the first time in 10 years.

"Mostly it was the pressure of the one-day event," Steamboat coach Steve Dodson said. "This is a really difficult tournament. We didn't get off to a good start and had to grind. It didn't work out for us today. That's athletics. The highs are high and the lows are very low. We're all pretty low right now."

Cortez and Rifle tied for the low team score, with Cortez winning in a playoff.

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Erik Sobeck and Andrew Firestone each shot 80 on Tuesday. Brandon Martin and Sam Samlowski shot 82s.

Sobeck and Firestone each lost in a playoff for the second alternate position.

The course was playing a little more firm than when Steamboat played it previously. But it was the expectations the team put on itself that did it in. Steamboat was expected to battle Cortez and Rifle for the tournament title. At minimum it seemed Sobeck and Martin — who each won tournaments — would get to qualify for state as individuals.

"I think we all had pretty high expectations coming into today," Sobeck said. "We put more pressure on ourselves to do better. I guess you could say we choked today."

Sobeck admitted to being nervous. He said he didn't trust his swing on the front nine and was trying to guide his irons. He played much better on the back nine, but the damage was done.

Steamboat graduates Samlowski but will return the other three players to what again should be a favorite to qualify for state.

But that didn't matter Tuesday.

"I'm disappointed for my kids. Unfortunately, we have to wait a whole year to do this again," Dodson said. "We can take positives away from the season. Unfortunately, today hurts and it's going to hurt for a while."

To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229 or email

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