Olivetathletics.com is counting down the Top 10 Olivet High School sports stories for 2016-17. Here is No. 9…
“Arguably the best golf team that has gone through the school…”
That is how Olivet High School boys’ golf coach Eddie Collins describes his senior-laden squad, which will participate in the MHSAA Division 3 Finals at Katke Golf Course in Big Rapids June 9-10.
The Eagles earned a spot in this weekend’s extravaganza after finishing second in a regional meet last week. They are the second OHS team in school history to reach the state finals, with the 2014 team being the first.
“When the 2014 state-qualifying team graduated, the popular opinion of the boys’ golf program was that we wouldn’t be that good again for who knows how long,” Collins recalled. “In the last two years alone, they have accomplished plenty.”
Olivet sports an 88-10 record in the Greater Lansing Activities Conference over the last two seasons, which includes a GLAC title in 2016 and a runner-up finish this spring.
The Eagles’ roster lists six seniors – Jake Andrews, Levi Burgett, Chase Collins, Daniel Higgins, Drake Norton and Kam Porter. Burgett, Collins and Norton earned first-team all-GLAC honors, while Andrews and Porter were second-teamers.
The difference between this year’s crew and the 2014 unit is depth. Three years ago, Olivet was led by a pair of all-state caliber golfers in Keagan Carpenter and Tyler Masters. This year, the Eagles feature six above-average players who are all capable of break-out rounds.
Collins admits the current season was not perfect, but he is pleased overall.
“I’m too competitive not to let this year’s GLAC runner-up bother me,” he said. “If we shoot a couple strokes better at one of the GLAC jamborees, we would have repeated as GLAC champs this year.
“I knew it would be a battle to keep a group of six seniors focused down the stretch of the season, especially once they were done with school,” he added. “My goal this week is to let them know that going to States is an opportunity most athletes dream about but never get a chance to do. While I want them to enjoy the moment, I don’t want them to settle for just being there. The last team I took to States fell into that and didn’t perform well at all. This team has the potential to finish in the upper half of the elite teams in the state.”