By Jason Goorman
NORTH MUSKEGON – The North Muskegon golf team is definitely considered one of the 10 best Division 4 teams in the state.
It’s hard to tell from the state rankings.
Earlier this season they were ranked No. 1 in Division 4 by the Michigan Interscholastic Golf Coaches Association of Michigan.
After that they fell out of the poll, then settled back in at No. 10.
What can’t be disputed is that the Norse have had a great season, winning 13 of the 16 matches or tournaments on their schedule.
They lost a season-opening dual match to Reeths-Puffer at Lincoln Golf Club, which both teams call home. They were second at the Ludington Invitational and third at the Shelby Invitational.
They won everything else and swept to the title in the West Michigan Conference.
Now the Norse have reached the point where the state rankings don’t matter, because it’s postseason tournament time.
High school golf teams from throughout the area will be competing in Division 1, 2, 3 and 4 district tournaments over the next four days.
The top six teams in each district, and the top six golfers from other teams, will qualify for next week’s regionals, where they will compete to qualify for the June 5-6 state finals.
North Muskegon, which finished fourth in the Division 4 state finals last year, will host a district tournament at Lincoln Golf Club on Wednesday.
The other teams in the tournament are Fruitport Calvary Christian, Hesperia, Muskegon Catholic, Western Michigan Christian, Pentwater, Saugatuck and Mason County Eastern.
North Muskegon, under the direction of first-year Coach Ty Love, features a young but talented lineup.
Love believes his team is good enough to compete for a state title, if everyone plays the way they can.
“If everybody can play well and up to their potential, our ultimate goal is to hoist a trophy,” Love said. “Last year they were fourth, and they have a little more experience this year, so we are going for a prize. We’re not playing for second.
“All the guys wrote down their goals at the beginning of the year and that was their number one.”
The No. 1 golfer is junior Will Mierz, who has an average of 79.8 this season. He had a hole-in-one at a conference tournament this season, and has been the picture of consistency for the Norse throughout the spring.
Mierz tied for 10th at the Division 4 state tournament last season.
“He doesn’t get in much trouble, he drives the ball straight, his irons are pretty solid and he’s been working on his short game,” Love said about Mierz.
Love said Mierz has also improved his mental game by reading a book between shots.
“He reads some kind of poetry, I don’t know,” Love said. “His mental game is a lot better.”
Second in the Norse lineup is junior Connor McEvoy, who’s averaging an 83. His skills are pretty amazing, considering his lack of experience in golf.
“He just picked up the game a couple of years ago,” Love said. “He’s a natural athlete and he’s a perfectionist. He just keeps getting better and better.”
Neck-and-neck with McEvoy is the team’s only senior, Mitch Edick, who’s also averaging an 83 and also had a hole-in-one this season.
Rounding out the top five are sophomores Brendan Harris (85) and Gannon Moss (85), who both transferred to North Muskegon from Reeths-Puffer this year.
Brock Dobb provides quality depth as North Muskegon’s sixth shooter.