GPN golf looks to return to championship form

By: Brad D. Bates | Grosse Pointe Times | Published April 5, 2011

 Grosse Pointe North senior Steven Demers is one of North’s four seniors looking to help the Norsemen get back atop the MAC Red standings in 2011.

Grosse Pointe North senior Steven Demers is one of North’s four seniors looking to help the Norsemen get back atop the MAC Red standings in 2011.

Photo by Deb Jacques

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For the first time since 2007, the Grosse Pointe North boys golf team did not end its regular season as Macomb Area Conference Red Division tournament champions in 2010.

After winning back-to-back MAC Red tourney titles, the Norsemen placed third in 2010. Coach Brian Stackpoole and his team were reloading for the future, and that future is now.

“We have four seniors that have been with the team for four years now,” Stackpoole said April 4. “They know what it takes to win the MAC Red and they know they have to earn it, so they’ve been really working hard.”

North’s seniors — Steven Demers, Michael Gula, Christian Vervaeke and Zack Hanna — are the driving force behind the Norsemen’s quest to get back atop the league.

“Those four seniors are just really great kids,” Stackpoole said. “All those guys played in a lot of varsity matches last year, so they definitely know what it means to compete.”

That level of competition is reinforced in North’s practices, when Stackpoole leaves it up to his players to decide who among the 11 of them will occupy the varsity’s five spots during competition.

“We really encourage competition,” Stackpoole said. “And if a player gets hot, he should be able to go out and get in the lineup.”

Along with leadership, North has the motivation of watching another team celebrate as MAC Red champions last year.

“We weren’t real happy with our performance last year,” Stackpoole said of his team’s 319 at the Red meet, which Grosse Pointe South won with a 301.

“We want to get back to level we know we should be playing at.”

North will get its first crack at its rivals when the teams square off in a league dual meet at 3 p.m. April 27 at Gowanie Golf Club. The squads will rematch on North’s home course at 3:30 p.m. May 16 at Lochmoor Golf Club.

South and North will also share the same course in tournament play April 29-30 at Grand Traverse Resort in the Traverse City Central Invitational, on May 23 at Katke-Cousins in Rochester for the MAC Red tourney and on May 31 at the Detroit Golf Club in the Desmond Detroit Golf Invitational.

Stackpoole reiterated that playing well early in the season is nice, but what matters most is how a team fares in June, when the state tournament kicks off with district meets June 2.

“I feel like we know we have to peak at the right time,” Stackpoole said. “You can play some real good golf early, but it really doesn’t mater.

“You have to do it at the right time, in districts and regionals, for it to count.”

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