BROOMFIELD — Legacy's Grant Hoos expected to qualify for the state tournament in each of his prep seasons but the game of golf just didn't share his opinion.
In each of his first two seasons, Hoos came within one stroke of qualifying. As a freshman in 2015, the state cutoff at regionals was 82 strokes. Hoos shot an 83. As a sophomore the following year, Hoos carded a 79 but lost on the final hole of a three-man playoff for the finals two state-qualifying spots.
After coming so close, Hoos was not going to be denied in 2017. At the Class 5A Northern Regional, the Lightning junior battled his way to a 9-over 82 at Coal Creek Golf Course to tie for 13th place and make the state tournament cut.
"It feels really great," Hoos said. "I more or less expected it and I was determined to finally make it. I didn't play that well at regionals but I still stuck to my routine because I knew that if I just played my game that it would be enough to qualify."
Hoos led the Lightning to a second-place finish in the Front Range League in 2017. More than ready for his first state tournament appearance, Hoos himself averaged a clean 76 throughout conference play and earned first-team all-conference honors.
With a front-row seat for the highs and lows of Hoos' prep golf career, Lightning head coach Bobby Ortega was as happy as anyone to see the promising golfer finally accomplish his goal. Now that he has, the pair will turn their focus to trying to land Hoos in or around the top 10 at CommonGround Golf Course on Oct. 2-3.
"For him, he's always known that he could do it," Ortega said. "This year, he's just had a different attitude. He's been focused and set on making it his goal to make state, and he did it. He's been knocking on the door and finally knocked the door down."
Cormack Arroyo and Hunter Hayes also qualified, so the Lightning will be included in the team scoring competition at state. While it would have been ideal for the Lightning to have a fourth player at state, Ben McCormick, who was first-team all-conference and would have qualified based on his score, was disqualified for playing an incorrect ball on the 17th hole during regionals.
"It means a lot to all of us," Hoos said. "It's the first year that Legacy has qualified a team in seven or eight years. Even Ben McCormick, he's still very much a part of our team and he's still been very supportive. He's taken it like a champ and that just makes us want to play even better for him."