By Sean Chase
The Grand Rapids Community College golf team dominated the competition by 20 strokes in Grayling, for the Kirtland Community College Invitational on Friday, April 30, to finish first out of six teams, and completing their regular season schedule perfect at 6-0.
“It builds momentum, obviously, you look at teams that do well in the postseason, normally they’ve had a good preseason or conference season,” said John Forton, GRCC’s head golf coach, when asked about the team finishing the regular season undefeated. “These guys are chomping at the bit to get to the regional and state, because that’s a double tournament, the state and the region are played at once, and we’re going in there ranked number one. They wanted to go to this tournament (on Friday), to set a tone for the upcoming events and they definitely have done that.”
Battling through intense conditions, the Raiders dominated the leaderboard as they secured six of the top 10 positions overall.
“Well, for the conditions we played in, 40 mph gusts, I thought the team performed exceptionally well,” Forton said. “I expected them to all be around that 75-mark, and they all shot in the 70s, on that course, in the wind and the cold, I’m very impressed with their performance.”
GRCC redshirt-freshman Dominic Luciani finished the round with a 69 (-1), the lowest score at the tournament to secure his first win as a Raider.
“(Luciani) has always been my steady 75 to 78 shooter,” Forton said. “He’s been getting better as the season goes on, I fully expected him to win a few tournaments by now, but the competition among our team is so tough, that it took him this long. His attitude is really good, he’s starting to perform much better. He’s kind of keeping this team going with his win, win, win attitude.”
The Raiders received contributions from redshirt-freshman Tyler Hausserman, posting a 71 (+1) to secure second place, redshirt-freshman Logan Templeton placed third with a score of 75 (+5), freshman Davis Courtright, and redshirt-freshman Matthew DenHartigh, finishing tied for fifth place, with a score of 78 (+8) and freshman Arie Jackman, tenth place, posting a score of 79 (+9).
“Well, they all seem to be getting better week-by-week,” Forton said. “Obviously, we ran through the conference kind of easy, and I think that this group, in particular, is very motivated to get better each and every day. As a coach, I just give them avenues to try and do that, and they seemed to take it and run. So there’s not a lot of work with these guys because they want to be good, they want to win the national championship, they want to win the region and state. So again, it makes it easier for me.”
Now that the regular season is complete, the Raiders will look to continue their incredible streak against the Michigan Community College Athletic Association’s competition, when they head to Battle Creek for the National Junior College Athletic Association Region XII Championship, starting on May 11.