High School Sports

Collegiate's core is all business on course

Off the course, Collegiate senior golfers Brett LeMaster, Ben Hatfield and Tyler Vincent don't take themselves too seriously.

Whether it's getting into a debate on who came up with wearing high socks with golf shoes, or Vincent and Hatfield poking fun at LeMaster for being the big-shot football and basketball player while they are "just golfers," there is always a jab at someone else's expense.

Then the three tee it up and it's all business in a quest to continue Collegiate's dominance in Class 3A. The Spartans have won four consecutive state titles and eight since 2000.

"We are going to try and take things one shot at a time, one tournament at a time," Hatfield said. "We were winning by big margins last year and maybe some teams would get a big head from it. But we are staying focused and telling each other to keep on going."

Actually, having seniors like LeMaster, Vincent and Hatfield is unheard of for Collegiate. Usually, the Spartans have one or two seniors to lead the way, but according to coach Kevin Reed, this is the first time in years where he will lean on three at the top of his lineup.

Reed needs them to replace Craig Howell, who was the heart and soul for Collegiate last season.

"The three seniors bring such continuity to our program by showing the way for the younger kids," Reed said. "They want to keep things going and experience a state championship again."

Finding additional scorers is something Collegiate has been trying to determine in practice.

"We've kind of known who the top six are going to be heading into the past seasons, but this year we have guys who aren't as experienced and we don't know who will be in the top six once we start playing," LeMaster said. "But guys will step up and we expect to be good."

Nothing is ever a sure thing, but with all the boys golf championship banners hanging in Collegiate's gym, it seems possible that the Spartans will again run away with 3A like last year, when their four-person score of 314 was 23 strokes better than second place.

But all of the success doesn't stop the seniors from motivating each other or their teammates.

"We all like our bragging rights," Vincent said. "Brett, Ben and myself are paired together in practice and we usually bet on a candy bar on our round. We're competitors and we always want to be the best."