Rebels' Tait ready for the next level

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Columbine junior hopes to build on last year’s top-20 state effort

By Michael Hicks

Michael Tait knows that his schedule is going to be tough. How could it not be, considering the Columbine junior golfer is also hoping to start at quarterback for the Rebels’ varsity football team?
He is going to be limited as to what he can do. He won’t practice golf much during the year because of his other commitments, but he’ll get there when he can. That said, considering he’s coming off a season in which he placed 20th at the 5A state tournament, his golf game seemingly is in pretty good shape.
Tait is one of two state qualifiers — senior Greg Shelton is the other —back for the 2013 Columbine Rebels’ boys golf team. But maybe nobody has a busier schedule than Tait.
There are a couple of conflicts with his schedule, Tait said, that will force him to miss one tournament for football reasons and two football practices for golf. But there also will be days where he’s playing golf in the morning before coming back to school to practice football in the afternoon. Yet, the schedule doesn’t seem to slow him down.
A two-time second-team all-conference selection, Tait carded a 15-over-par 157 at state in 2012. He finished 12 shots off the winning pace in his state tournament debut.
“It’s a lot different than all the league tournaments. It’s a lot more nerve-racking, kind of exciting,” Tait said.
Tait, who was hoping to make it to state as a freshman but didn’t quite qualify despite shooting an 86 at regionals, wasn’t expecting to do as well as he did last year. But he shot 78 at regionals as Columbine took third place. A tough course at Rolling Hills for the 5A state tournament was kind of scary, but once he got off the first tee, everything opened up for him and he played the way he knew that he could.
Tait uses a quote by former boxer Muhammad Ali as motivation. “The will must be greater than the skill,” Ali would say. That, Tait said, is what he’s all about.
“It tells me you have to have heart, control and power to get through so much. My body is always hurting, but you get through that. There’s the mental side that keeps pushing me through everything that I’m doing,” Tait said. “I may be sore at a golf tournament and not wanting to go, but I do it for myself and for the team.”
That tenacity and his growing experience is how Tait put himself on the state map a year ago, and he hopes to improve on his performance in 2013.
“Last year, the difference from my freshman year is that I wasn’t as nervous. I kind of knew what I had to do,” Tait said. “I didn’t play too much better than (the) year (before), but I made it to state. Coming in this year, I’m expecting a lot more. I’m hoping of winning league, performing well at state.”
For Tait, well would be a top-five finish. That will be a grind considering his busy schedule, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility.

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