New Reed City golf coach a quick study on the links

REED CITY — It was five years ago when Katrina Wray decided to take up golf. She now finds herself as a coach for the Reed City boys team.

Wray is a Chippewa Hills native, having graduated from the high school in 1991. She played basketball and ran track there.

She later worked as a paralegal for 16 years in Big Rapids before becoming a teacher. She graduated from Ferris in 2008 with a Bachelor of Science in education. She went to Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va. and received a masters in education and administration and supervision and graduated from there in 2010.

Wray has been teaching at Reed City since November 2007. She teaches foreign languages, including Spanish. She also has a middle school class.

“I wanted history and speech communication,” Wray said. “But my advisor at Ferris told me that I would probably never get a job and that if I wanted to get a job to get into special education or foreign language. So I picked up foreign language. I thought it would be a better fit. I got hired a year before I graduated. Hats off to Ferris State for helping me.”

It’s Wray’s fifth year of playing golf.

“I always wanted to play baseball,” she said. “That was my No. 1 passion. But my parents didn’t want me to play baseball because they didn’t want to be tied down in the summer and wanted to go do whatever. A number of years ago, I tried a women’s softball league and found out that I’m afraid of the ball...that I really like to hit it but I don’t like to catch it.

“Then I thought ‘maybe golf is more my game.’ So I started on a ladies league in Falcon Head not knowing much at all. My boy friend helped me out and I took some lessons. Last year I was probably playing four times a week. So I play a lot.”

Wray said she’ll play in two women leagues this year.

Todd Dew, longtime Reed City golf coach, decided to step down to spend more time with his family.

“The posting came up early in the school year,” Wray said. “I thought about it. But life got in the way and I stopped thinking about it. In the spring, the school was knocking on doors looking for a golf coach. I let it pass by again. Tim Webster and I decided to do it together.”

Webster is also the Reed City Middle School principal. Wray said they’ll be co-coaching the varsity and JV teams.

“We’ll play to our strengths,” she said. “We had 17 kids on the roster (as of late last week). It requires being gone a lot from the classroom. A lot of the tournaments start at 9 a.m. I might miss some or all of 14 days out of the next 40 days left of school. I’ll be gone a lot. That’s difficult. I didn’t want to see the program fold. I’m very passionate about playing golf. I always want to play more. I thought I’d see what I could do.”

Practices started on March 19. “We were a week late because we hadn’t hired coaches,” Wray said.

Weather was unseasonably warm the week of March 19.

“We divided up the team and have chipping and putting going on and we have other kids at the driving range and then we switch,” Wray said. “I’m usually coaching chipping and putting and Mr. Webster is doing the driving. Practice starts at 3:30. There were sometimes they weren’t there until 7 or 8. When the weather was good, they were playing as late as they could.”

Wray said when it comes to matches, she’ll travel with the varsity team and Webster will be with the JVs.

“Otherwise we pretty much do everything together,” she said.

The season opens April 13 at home against Clare. Home matches are at Spring Valley Golf Course.

“Probably what they’re looking forward to the most is April 19 is the St. Ives Invitational,” Wray said. “The kids are drooling over that one. That’s what they’re excited about.

“I also coach the varsity and junior varsity quiz bowl teams. We’re going to the finals on the 20th. I’m trying to coach two things at once right now.”

The players were scheduled to play next week to determine the lineup.

Matt Kienitz is returning to the lineup along with Ben Schermerhorn, Kaleb Carmichael, Kaden Phelps, Owen Rushford and Josh Hughston.

“That’s kind of who I expect to be on the varsity team,” Wray said. “We have played a whole nine and kept score. There’s a couple of more who might be able to sneak in there.

Carmichael, Hughston and Kienitz are seniors.

“I think the beauty of Tim Webster and I coaching together is that he’s coached before so he brings experience whereas I lack the experience,” Wray said.

There’s also three girls on the team. Reed City doesn’t have a girls squad in the fall. They also might see some action, Wray acknowledged. All three girls are seniors: Jordyn Mason, Erica Voelker and Kelsey Fredrick.

“It’s too early to tell,” Wray said of season prospects. “I expect Big Rapids is going to be competitive. They’re always competitive.”