The Sandcrabs qualified for the state tournament as a team for the second time in three years.
Seabreeze golfer Harley Rossi still remembers how it felt when he stepped onto the tee box for the first time at the at the FHSAA State Tournament in 2016.
It was his freshman season, and he qualified individually for the tournament.
It was the toughest golf tournament he ever played in, he said, and the nerves were almost overwhelming.
"It's just going to be another weekend, another tournament. We're ready for it."
MATTHEW HEWITT, Seabreeze golfer
Playing at the state tournament has gotten easier each time.
Seabreeze competed as a team in 2017, and Rossi qualified as an individual again in 2018.
The Sandcrabs, who play in Class 2A, finished third at their regional tournament to once again qualify for states as a team.
The Sandcrabs, led by Rossi and juniors Matthew Hewitt and Phillip Kamelgarn, will tee it up at Mission Inn Resort and Golf Club on Tuesday, Nov. 5, and Wednesday, Nov. 6, in Howey-in-the-Hills.
“We’re much more ready this year,” Rossi said. “We’ve been there and we know a lot of other people haven’t.”
Seabreeze boys golf coach Jack Bailey has been with the Sandcrabs the past 13 seasons. He said his players haven’t been putting up their best numbers this season, but he believes it can all turn around at states thanks to the team’s experience and leadership.
“The guys have worked hard,” he said. “The leadership on this team is everything. The younger kids, they see that. It makes them want to come out and work harder.”
The goal this season has been to return to the state tournament as a team. Anything short of it would have been a disappointment. The Sandcrabs have been putting in extra time at the range, beating ball after ball, since August to make that goal become a reality.
“The journey getting to states is hard,” said Kamelgarn, who last played at states as a freshman. “It’s a long journey. There’s some good teams you have to go through.”
He, like his teammates, believes Seabreeze, which is not traditionally known as a “golf school,” has an opportunity to make a statement come Nov. 5.
“A lot of people are kind of sleeping on us going into this event,” Kamelgarn said. “I think we can make a name for ourselves. We want to show that we do belong at states.”