Fraser High’s boys golf team begins the season as the defending Macomb Area Conference Gold Division champions.
Prior to capturing the Gold duel-meet championship last season (a shared title with St. Clair Shores Lake Shore), the closest the Ramblers had come to accomplishing that feat in recent years was when they had back-to-back second-place finishes in 2008 and 2009.
Now that Fraser has broken through to capture a league championship, coach John Barnett believes the expectations for the program have been raised, and that his players also believe a new standard has been set.
“I really believe that,” he said. “Both my co-captains, Tyler Schaefer and Mitchell Sehi, they’re doing an outstanding job. They talk about last year’s team and how we got ourselves to get in the position we did last year.”
After last season’s success, according to Sehi, the expectations have increased, especially for the seniors on the team.
“Most of us seniors have been on the team since we were sophomores,” he said. “So, three seasons on the varsity team, and doing well. We (don’t want to) disappoint and (we want to) try to be where we were last year.”
The Ramblers will have experience on their side, as five of the eight players on the roster are seniors, including Schaefer and Sehi. At press time, the squad hadn’t played a match.
Schaefer acknowledged the role that the seniors can play to try to help Fraser have another successful campaign.
“We have the most experience,” he said. “We were on the team the longest, so we just try to lead a good example for the younger kids.”
Solid leadership amongst the players can help make a coach’s job much easier, and Barnett said he thinks having a nice surplus of seniors has the potential to bode well for Fraser.
“It’s going to mean a lot to us,” he said. “They know what we’ve been through last year. They know they have to be ready to play.”
Having ended last season with a title may also give the Ramblers the confidence to believe in the possibilities that could await them.
“After being the co-champ last year, they want to do it again,” the coach said. “That’s the way they’re talking. They talk like we can win it, so I believe in them.”
As much as Barnett may like the thought of back-to-back championships, he is aware of the challenges. Aside from merely having a chance to look at the Ramblers’ opponents during competitive matches, some of them also practice on the same course as Fraser, giving Barnett the opportunity to see the caliber of competition his squad will have to overcome in order to claim to another title.
“I think it’s (going to) be very competitive,” he said. “I don’t think anybody’s (going to) go undefeated. Each day, any team can win. You see these kids play, and you know they can play pretty decent.”