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Rebels’ Tait turns full attention to the links

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The Columbine senior hangs up his football cleats after multiple concussions to focus on golf

By Michael Hicks

It was springtime, yet Michael Tait was already looking ahead. Sure, the multi-sport Columbine High athlete was having a stellar baseball season, but his mind was pondering what was to come this fall. In particular, playing football and golf in the same season again.

In 2013, Tait not only was the Rebels’ best boys golfer, but he was also the varsity football team’s starting quarterback. He also played both sports the previous two seasons. But the gridiron was taking a toll on the 5-foot-9, 164-pounder’s frame. Since the eighth grade, he had suffered five concussions, Rebels boys golf coach Tim Capra said.

“He’s the toughest kid in the world, but he’s taken a lot of shots, so I think that had a little do with it,” Capra said.

It would be Tait’s decision to forgo a senior season of football and to concentrate solely on playing golf. The decision just might be the catalyst for Tait taking the next step with his golf career.

The two-time 5A state qualifier tied for 20th in 2012 at Rolling Hills Country Club in Golden and 17th last year at Murphy Creek Golf Course in Aurora, both times finishing 12 strokes off the winning pace. He helped Columbine place 10th at state in 2013 with a 39-over 471. With his focus solely on golf this year, Capra said Tait could most definitely challenge the state’s elite in 2014.

“Absolutely, no question about it,” Capra said. “I don’t want to jinx him, but Michael works hard at everything that he does. He could do it.”

Tait agreed.

“I think that I have a lot bigger shot to try and do something this year with more time to practice,” he said.

Tait altered his swing this summer to straighten out his drives. If he continues to hit the ball straight off the tee, Tait feels he’ll be in a good position to succeed.

“Michael is hitting the ball a mile,” Capra said. “If he makes a few putts, he’ll be tough. He can go low. With a lot of practice, he can go dangerously low.”

The decision to focus solely on golf also grants Tait the opportunity to play more alongside younger brother Marcus, who is also a returning state qualifier after finishing 64th as a freshman with a 20-over 164. 

The way Capra sees it there’s little question that the potential is there for Michael Tait to be among the state’s best in 2014, especially with his full attention on golf.

Contact Michael Hicks at sports@evergreenco.com or 303-933-2233, ext. 15.