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June 19, 2013

Eastpointe senior golfer balances school, sports, racks up accolades

By Jason Carmel Davis
C & G Sports Writer

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Eastpointe senior golfer balances school, sports, racks up accolades
East Detroit High senior Zak Gray, pictured during a 2013 MHSAA D-1 district tournament, has qualified for D-1 regionals three times and is the valedictorian at East Detroit.

EASTPOINTE — East Detroit High School senior No. 1 golfer Zak Gray is a three-time qualifier for the Michigan High School Athletic Association Division 1 regionals — including qualifying this spring.

Gray, who will study Actuarial Science at Olivet College in the fall, has also been named to the All-Macomb Area Conference Silver Division team, along with receiving academic All-State honors. Gray is also an accomplished tennis player, having led the Shamrocks to a MAC Blue title in 2012.

Somewhere in between all of that, Gray found the time to work hard enough at East Detroit to be the school’s valedictorian this year.

“Sports are actually essential to my success as a student,” said Gray, who also swam, and played in the school concert band and marching band while at East Detroit High. “I got into a rhythm of going to school, going to practice and then coming home and doing my homework. Doing all of those things kind of forces me to get my work done.”

Gray enjoys the game of golf. He said having a positive mindset each time he hits the course plays a role in his success. The Shamrocks’ senior added he doesn’t take a lot of chances on the course.

“I generally don’t take many risks,” Gray said. “If I don’t take many risks, I can stay positive because I don’t have many opportunities to do poorly when I play it safe.”

East Detroit High golf coach Walt Demaris, who is the only coach in the seven-year history of the program, said Gray is solid from tee to green and drove the ball well this season. The Shamrocks’ coach added that Gray has good touch around the greens and that his course management allows him to play smart golf and score well.

Gray has obviously also scored well in the classroom. He said his family has played a vital role in all of his success.

“Both immediate family and more distant cousins and uncles have always supported my decisions and praised my accomplishments,” Gray said. “I couldn’t ask for a better family.”

Gray knows he’s in for some changes when he hits the Olivet campus. He said he understands he’ll have to be even more dedicated to his studies, as far as studying and staying on top of homework assignments.

“(That) will be much more difficult, with the ambiance of college life surrounding me,” Gray said.

The East Detroit valedictorian will take fond memories of high school with him to Olivet.

Gray said he believe he’ll remain in contact with some of his classmates, but he knows he won’t be able to keep in touch with all of them.

“I’ll mostly remember — and miss — my friends,” Gray said. “Throughout my four years, I have met countless people that I can now call my friends.”

You can reach C & G Sports Writer Jason Carmel Davis at jdavis@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1107. Twitter Follow Jason on Twitter.