June 26, 2013
Hazel Park High’s golf team put the wraps on a fine a season following the conclusion of its Division 1 district tournament May 30.
And though the Vikings did not advance through districts, they did end the season with some new hardware after capturing their second consecutive Oakland Activities Association Gold Division championship.
Tyler Thornsberry, Brian Kibzey, Justin Sutinen, Cody Brasfield, Charles Hemple and Jacob Ayers represented the Vikings on the golf course, and according to coach Larry Dupke, contributions from different players was a key to the Vikings’ title run.
“I think, overall, we had a choice of using six players, and on every different day, someone would have their best day,” he said. “Our two most consistent players were Tyler (Thornsberry) and Brian (Kibzey), but other players had their best day, and that contributed a lot when we faced the better schools, like Ferndale.”
As nice of an accomplishment as back-to-back league titles is, it is not Dupke’s primary measuring stick for success.
“My goals have never really been oriented toward winning or losing, because sometimes you win because you’re better, sometimes you lose and play better,” he said. “I just love the idea of competing as a team, understanding that your missed putt, which you didn’t think meant anything, means everything to the other players who need that putt today. Just put more into it than you would like to. It’s hard when you get a little discouraged. I think they learned that, and as the season went on, did a lot better job.”
While some teams can come back from a title season looking vastly different, that is a problem Dupke doesn’t appear to have to worry about, as Hazel Park didn’t graduate a single player from this year’s squad. With a roster of familiar faces set to return, as well as the success the team has enjoyed, Dupke expressed hope about what could lie ahead.
“I hope it will interest more kids next year,” Dupke said of the team’s titles helping to build the program. “Although we didn’t have any seniors this year, you always hope to get more interest, and then you can keep building for the future. We had five juniors … and one sophomore, so hopefully, their interest will maybe carry over to some other kids, and their success will be something others would strive for, as well.”
Thornberry and Kibzey were selected as Hazel Park’s co-MVP’s. Although the Vikings didn’t advance as a team, Thornsberry’s score of 91 at districts qualified him individually for the regional round of the state playoffs.
“That was a goal he had, and he accomplished it,” Dupke said. “He had a terrific season, in terms of placing well in league tournaments and his dual-meet scores.”