As the recent broadcast wound through the award winners, local teams made quite a statement about the quality of golf that has often gone overlooked. Of the golfer of the year, finalists were announced, two were local 1A competitors. Caden Cook of Scranton took home the award as Golfer of the Year, edging out familiar competition from County Line Senior Caleb Robberson.
For Cook, this was the cherry on top of an awarded career at Scranton that saw them as regular postseason competitors before finally winning it all this year. The award was presented by the reigning US Open champion, Gary Woodland. “To hear someone of that stature say my name was amazing,” said Cook.
When they made it to the State Tournament, it was a home course for Cook and the Rockets. “We were confident but knew not to be overconfident. We had it on our home course and knew based on last year’s scores that we had a chance. We knew we could compete.” The closest competitor and toughest team they knew would be defending champion County Line.
The work they put in all year paid off. “We played a lot of golf. Not just me, but as a team. We played a lot. If we ever wanted to hit balls, Coach B (John Blamey) was always willing.” Scranton would often hit balls out on the grassy area beside their gym during lunch to get reps in.
“Chamberlyn is a great course. But we don’t have anything closer, so for us, it is a 45-minute drive to play. We put a net in the batting cage to allow kids to take reps and I would put hoops on the baseball outfield for them to practice chipping, “ said coach Blamey.
Both were very quick to defer the attention to others. Cook noted how teachers, coaches, parents, and the community made it happen. For Blamey, this was a long-awaited goal. For his efforts, Blamey was recognized as Outstanding Golf Coach and nominated for River Valley Coach of the Year, an honor that crosses all sports and classifications. If you spend a few minutes with him, it is easy to understand why one of his peers was first to tell him about his accolades. “Cass (Ryan Casalman from County Line) messaged me a congratulation and had it on Facebook before I even knew I had been nominated,” said Blamey. “I have tremendous support. Our Superintendent, Toby Cook, helped coach and work the tournament. He does so much for all of us, all of the coaches. And he does it because he cares about our kids. He would take some and I would take some and we would work with them as much as we could.”
Both Caden Cook and coach John Blamey represent what we all love about our community. They are unassuming and kind, quick to share any accolades with those around them, and they are talented. Expect Blamey and Scranton to stay in the mix in the near future in both boys and girls golf.