Even an NFL Hall of Fame wide receiver was inspired by this group of girls.
Last week as the Detroit Cass Tech girls golf team was practicing at the Royal Oak Golf Center, it got a visit from former Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson.
To view photos of Johnson visiting the team on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, click or tap here.
As was the case with so many others, Johnson swung by to offer support and congratulate the girls on a historic achievement.
According to Detroit Public Schools, Cass Tech became the first girls golf program from a city school in Detroit to qualify for a state finals tournament.
Cass Tech did so by qualifying for the Michigan High School Athletic Association’s Division 1 tournament (there are tournaments for four divisions) at Michigan State University’s Forest Akers West, which was held this past Friday and Saturday.
“It was very meaningful to make it as a team,” said Cass Tech senior Kennedy Watts following the second of two rounds in chilly, wet conditions. “It showed we can succeed, we are making progress and growing.”
Qualifying for the event was a testament to resiliency and hopes for a bright future now that a bar has been set.
In just its third year as a program, Cass Tech doesn’t have a home course and has had to rely on alumni donations to purchase necessary equipment.
Cass Tech head coach Martin Siml several of the girls who try out for the team haven’t played golf before.
“It’s pretty hard for the girls to practice a bunker shot if they’ve never practiced a bunker shot before because we have no home course,” Siml said. “It’s like playing basketball without a basketball court. It’s like playing in somebody’s back yard and then showing up to compete on the basketball court.”
The team practiced throughout the season at Royal Oak Golf Center, but competed in various dual matches and at other tournaments throughout the state during the season, including in Rochester, Traverse City and Brighton.
The biggest tournament of all was a regional tournament on Oct. 10 at West Shore Golf & Country Club in Grosse Ile, where the top-3 teams qualified for the state tournament.
It was there where Cass Tech officially made history, punching its ticket to the state tournament by finishing in second place amidst a field of suburban schools.
“Just not having the basic resources, but still being able to come and perform and be able to be here at states, is one of the best things,” said Cass Tech junior Sydney Evans.
At the state tournament, Cass Tech ended up finishing 17th out of 18 teams, but that didn’t matter.
What mattered was that Cass Tech became a pioneer for future city girls golf teams to emulate.
“I think the girls coming after us, they are going to have that legacy to go behind,” Evans said. “It’s something to strive for as well.”