It’s barely August but fall sports officially got underway this week at Summit High School with the kickoff of the 2014 boys golf season. A field of 18 golfers was whittled to 11 Wednesday following three days of tryouts.
While head coach Gary Sorensen had some initial reservations about finding replacements for last year’s senior class, he said he was impressed by what he saw from some returning players and by a strong underclass turnout.
“Across the board these guys have shown more than what a typical group does from one year to the next,” Sorensen said of returning team members. “They’ve stepped up a long ways.”
Tiger sophomore Graham Gaspard and senior Garrison Ortega were among the players Sorensen said showed big improvements. Gaspard went from barely making the team as a freshman to No. 4 on this year’s squad. Ortega’s strong performance in tryouts earned him the No. 1 spot on the team.
“I guess I figured out how to hit a golf ball,” Ortega said, laughing. He dropped a number of strokes from his average since last season, he said.
Describing some of his new underclass teammates senior Jack Bilenduke said, “Some of the younger kids have shown that they’re here to play.”
Sorensen said he was impressed by freshmen Mark Davidson’s and Tyler Horrii’s performances at tryouts, saying both showed a lot of potential moving forward.
Sophomores Keegan Cancelosi and Graham Gaspard will join Bilenduke, Ortega and fellow senior Jack Farrell on the varsity team, with Horrii, Davidson, Ethan Moroco, Parker Rothey, Jake Schulman and Mike Kermode rounding out the B-team squad. Tryouts behind them, the team will jump right into the new season with its first match play Thursday, Aug. 7, at Battle Mesa Golf Club, west of Rifle.
Bilenduke and Ortega both said it will be a challenge for the team to get back into the competitive frame of mind after a long off-season.
“I think it’s intimidating ’cause we’re used to a casual pace of play,” Bilenduke said. “I think we will play fine, once we get past the mental barrier.”
Sorensen was positive looking ahead at the season, crediting the consistency he’s seen from his varsity guys through three days of tryouts.
“We’re not going to get embarrassed,” he said. “We’re going to surprise some schools.”
Cross-country, football, soccer, volleyball and rugby will kick off their seasons with practices starting Monday, Aug. 11.