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Perseverance pays off in First Tee program for Piedra Vista’s Yost

As a freshman at Piedra Vista High School, Quinn Yost played in one event in the spring for the boys golf team.

That doesn’t seem like a special feat, but when you consider what Yost had to go through in March it proved to be extraordinary and a moment that made him stronger.

On March 3, Yost suffered a broken right leg in a skiing accident. He endured pain, surgery and rehabilitation, yet made it back to the team, gaining clearance the week before the state tournament in May.

The adversity that taught him a great deal about patience compelled him to write a meaningful essay for the CoBank PEAK Performers contest, a leadership and golf performance program for elite teens across the nation. Yost shared his unique story as part of the First Tee program. He was one of nine selected to take part in a four-day golf academy hosted by World Golf Hall of Famer Nick Faldo next month at the Terranea Resort and Trump National Golf Course in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif.

The First Tee, a youth sports organization that grows the game of golf, has nine core values to help develop juniors: honesty, integrity, sportsmanship, respect, confidence, responsibility, perseverance, courtesy and judgment. Yost proved to be a great example of perseverance.

“I persevered through my leg and I was able to play in the state tournament,” Yost said. “I worked through and fought through it and it helped me a lot.”

Yost said he was “so happy” to find out that he was selected.

“I’ve never really met someone that famous,” Yost said of Faldo. “I get to play golf with him and that’s just cool to think about. I don’t think I ever had this feeling before. I’m going to try to soak in everything from him and use it on the golf course, and hopefully become a better golfer because of it.”

Yost, 15, is no stranger to the First Tee program of San Juan County. He’s basically been a part of it since he was a baby. His father, Thomas, became executive director of the First Tee of San Juan County in 2005. He continues to work as program director and coach.

Golf has always been a big part of Yost’s life. That’s why it hurt so much when it was taken away from him after the injury.

“My dad had me swinging golf clubs when I was 2, probably,” Yost said. “I just stayed around it my whole life. I don’t even remember when I started to be honest, but I was young. I’ve always enjoyed the sport.”

Yost said he’s not at full strength, instead at about 90 percent. He tries to stay positive, knowing that the injury could have been a lot worse. Still, what it was, he was left homebound for a week after the injury. Then he had to restart the process because he needed surgery two weeks later.

Yost was excited to get back to the golf course and was grateful he was cleared just in time for the state tournament. He finished tied for 17th and helped Piedra Vista repeat as the 5A state champion.

“I definitely did not play my best,” Yost said. “It was tough.”

Yost said he took pride that he was simply able to compete after recovering from the skiing accident.

He hopes to be at 100 percent when Piedra Vista plays in the prestigious Antigua National High School Invitational Aug. 29-31 at Whirlwind Golf Club in Chandler, Ariz. PV will be a team in transition as the Diehl brothers, Tyler and Trey, who finished second and third in state, respectively, have graduated and moved on to New Mexico State.

Yost is planning to improve his skills through the golf academy with Faldo Aug. 21-24.

He actually wrote three essays as part of the contest, about how the First Tee impacted him; how the nine core values applied to him; and his community service in the county.

On Friday mornings during the summer, Yost said he volunteers for the Special Olympics program at Riverview Golf Course in Kirtland.

“We’re thrilled to have Quinn representing our local chapter of the First Tee,” Tina Pacheco-White, executive director of the First Tee of San Juan County, said in a release. “Quinn has been given a fantastic opportunity to be mentored by Faldo, a golf legend with six major championships and more than 40 tournament victories, and grow, not only as a golfer, but as a young leader in the community.”