By Victor Skinner
Local Sports Journal
MUSKEGON – A lot of people probably figured Andrea Majeski and Kennedy Potts were one-season fill-ins for the Mona Shores golf team last year.
But the girls golf squad was in need of reinforcements last fall. The Sailors were coming off an incredible run of four straight state titles, but lost all of their top players to graduation before the 2013 season.
Former coach John Brainard had seen Majeski and Potts play recreational golf in the summer and was impressed. So he recruited them to the golf team, even as they played volleyball, and Majeski and Potts helped the team win the O-K Black Conference title, finish second at regionals and qualify for the state tournament.
Nobody would have been surprised if they had taken a bow and returned to volleyball full-time this season, but that’s not the case.
Potts is once again playing volleyball and golf, despite the constant practice that’s required and the exhaustion that comes with it. Majeski dropped volleyball altogether and focused exclusively on the golf team this fall.
The two converted golfers will be on hand to help the Sailors try to defend their Greater Muskegon Athletic Association City Tournament title Wednesday at Stonegate Golf Course in Twin Lake.
Also competing will be Reeths-Puffer, Western Michigan Christian, Muskegon Catholic, Whitehall, Fruitport and North Muskegon. Play begins at 9 a.m.
“I’m just really excited to see how they do this year. It’s going to be cool to get to coach them for a couple of years,” first-year Sailor Coach Scott Volkmann said of Majeski and Potts. “It’s exciting to be around kids like this that constantly want to improve in all aspects of their lives.”
Being newcomers to golf at the varsity level, neither Majeski nor Potts had any illusions about becoming No. 1 or 2 players for the powerful Sailor squad. But their presence on the team made a big difference for the rebuilding Sailors last year.
Potts finished third on the team, and seventh overall, at last year’s city meet, helping the Sailors capture their seventh straight tournament title.
Majeski took third on the team, and 24th overall, in the state regional tournament, helping the Sailors finish second and qualify for the state finals.
Both girls earned honorable mention all-conference honors, despite having to practice on their own, away from their team, due to volleyball commitments.
Both girls chose to return to the golf team this year.
Majeski became a complete convert, dropping volleyball to concentrate on the links.
She said practicing for both sports, combined with her academic load, made for a tough and exhausting sophomore season. It also made it difficult to improve in either sport, so she opted not to play volleyball and devoted her attention to improving her golf game instead.
“It was really tough just balancing them both with school and everything,” Majeski said. “I decided to focus more on golf because I knew I would go farther than with volleyball.
“It’s made a huge difference being able to be at the actual practice. The last 18-hole tournament I was in I shot a 94, and last year it was more like 106 or 108.”
Majeski said she hopes to hit 90 for 18 holes by the end of the year.
Potts, meanwhile, continues to juggle golf and volleyball, though volleyball remains her primary sport.
“Last year, as a sophomore, coming into the golf program it was tough because I hadn’t been playing golf at a competitive level,” said Potts, the daughter of Mona Shores volleyball coach Dan Potts. “I put a lot of work in over the summer for golf.”
She admits taking on two sports in one season makes for a grueling schedule.
“This first week was super exhausting, going from school to golf to volleyball and going home to do homework,” said Potts, who currently is number one in her junior class academically with a 4.13 GPA. “I feel like I’ve gotten a lot smarter with the mental aspect of golf.
“I think it’s coming around and I’ll get a good round. I’d like to shoot in the low 90s by the end of the season.”
High school golf is a team game, and Majeski and Potts provide the kind of depth for Mona Shores that most teams only dream of.
They don’t always finish in the top four on their team (the scores that count at tournaments), but they would be top players at most area schools, and provide valuable insurance for the Sailors when other players have off days.
Potts, for instance, finished third on the team in a recent O-K Black Conference jamboree, helping the Sailors capture the tournament.
“They both have had their scores count a number of times this year,” Volkmann said. “It’s definitely nice to have six good golfers. It gives a level of comfort to the other girls in the lineup.”
The Sailors will be prohibitive favorites to win their eighth straight city tournament Wednesday.
They are currently ranked fifth in the state in Division 2, and have already wrapped up another O-K Black Conference title.
The other members of the team are Rylee George, Sami Pyman, Darian Smith and Kendall McKinley.