The expectations surrounding the Olivet varsity boys’ golf team were minimal entering the 2016 season, partly because the Eagles’ roster is comprised entirely of underclassmen and also because no one knew if the young squad would be consistent enough.
Well, the junior-laden team is no longer under anyone’s radar after capturing a Greater Lansing Activities Conference championship Monday afternoon at Eldorado Golf Course in Mason.
Coach Eddie Collins’ crew finished second behind Lansing Christian at Monday’s 18-hole competition, but the cushion it had created during the seven GLAC jamborees leading up to the league meet was enough to claim the overall title.
“My worry was that the boys would settle into a ‘we still have next year’ attitude and they definitely did not,” Collins said. “I honestly think they had a little chip on their shoulders, constantly hearing about the state-qualifying team of 2014. They took care of business and led the GLAC for the entire season and held on for a league championship — something the 2014 crew never accomplished.”
On Monday, the coach’s nephew, Chase Collins, led the Eagles with an 82. Olivet also counted an 85 from Jake Andrews, an 86 by Drake Norton and a 91 from Levi Burgett. Norton (4th), Collins (5th), Andrews (7th) received All-GLAC first-team honors as a result of their individual GLAC rankings, which considered the league meet and all of the jamborees.
Rounding out Olivet’s scores on Monday were Daniel Higgins with a 98 and Kam Porter with a 105.
Coach Collins is hoping that the pressure of fighting off contenders throughout the recent GLAC season will benefit his team in the post-season, which begins Wednesday with a district tournament at Hastings Country Club.
“I was very impressed with their mental toughness and maturity down the home stretch,” he said. “I would like to see them advance to the regional as a team.”