LENEXA, Kan. — Good attitudes will take athletes a long way.
The ladies at Olathe Northwest High School used a strong mental game to win the school’s first-ever KSHSAA Class 6A Girls State Golf Championship this season.
No matter how well they hit the ball, golfers must be patient. Careful consideration led the Ravens to the state title in late October. The team adopted the mantra “One Shot at a Time” as the season wore on, after they found themselves winning six of their eight regular season tournaments, and heavy expectations began to grow.
Mike Grove, who became ONW’s girls coach this year, enjoyed seeing his golfers become mentally tough, especially in mid-October’s state tournament in Salina. They expanded on the one-shot lead they held after the opening round at state, winning the team title by 19 shots and placing two golfers in the top ten.
“Not only did we not falter, we improved that much more the second day. That showed a lot of mental toughness from a team that had practiced the correct way all year,” Grove said.
If Grove’s name sounds familiar, it’s because he’s been the school’s boys golf coach for 20 seasons. Grove added leadership of the girls program to his duties this season.
At the Class 6A State Championship, sophomore Avery Hershman finished one shot behind the individual state champion, Shawnee Mission East’s Ella Slicker. Fellow Ravens sophomore Claire Sullivan also placed in the top 10.
“Going in, I knew I had a chance to make a run, one shot at a time helped me if I hit a bad shot to forget it, and get on to the next one.” Hershman said.
“Everyone knew about it and since golf’s not a sport a lot of people know about, just bringing that home to our school. Everyone was so proud of us,” Sullivan added.
This one shot might not be the Ravens only shot to shine. Five of Olathe Northwest’s seven varsity golfers are expected to defend the state championship next season, include the top two finishers at the state tournament. That will provide one more shot at success.