For the past four seasons, Manila's Michael Shedd has been making headlines for the Lion golf team. This year, the talented senior had to share some of the limelight with his younger sister Mikayla, a freshman.
It turned out to be more than just a way to get out of school for Mikayla, as she qualified for both the regional and state golf tournaments in her initial year of competition. "It's been so cool to play on so many different courses, especially the state tournament course at Balboa," said Mikayla. "It was the prettiest course I have ever played on and was a real challenge."
Mikayla was joined at the state tournament by her older brother Michael, who was making his third straight appearance at the premier high school golf event in the state. "I've learned so much from my big brother," said Mikayla. "He is more than just a coach to me and has helped me so much. It was great that we got to play a practice round together at the state tournament. One of the highlights for me was when I hit a ball within two inches of the cup on the par three seventh hole. I beat my brother on that hole, which was really neat."
Both Shedds have been supported by their parents, David and Trena Shedd, and both sets of grandparents. "It's really just a big family affair with us," said Mikayla. "My mom is my main coach. She travels with me to all of the tournaments. I also play golf with my dad and my grandparents. It's all a lot of fun."
"We both got started because of our grandparents," said Michael. "It was just a family thing, our dad, the entire family.We go on golf trips with my Grandpa Shedd and I go to Jonesboro and play golf with my Grandpa Gilbert on a lot of different courses.My dad constantly takes pictures of us which really helps with our swing and our entire game."
Mikayla credits Michael with being her biggest influence. "All my family really helps me, but Michael has been my biggest influence," said Mikayla. "I am really going to miss him next year, but I'm looking forward to the next three years."
Michael plans on playing college golf. "I hate that my career at Manila is over," said Michael. "It was really tough when the season ended and I knew that it was my last match, but I held it together. I still have baseball to look forward to in the spring. We had a great year last season, making it to the state tournament for the first time in 31 years. Winning the regional medalist honors when I was a junior and going to the state tournament in baseball last season are the two biggest thrills of my career. My goal was to go to the overall state golf tournament, and I just missed out by a couple of shots. But I played well and went out on a good note. I was real excited about making all-state."
Michael saw his golf game improve over the course of the last four years and credits his strategy coach, C.W. Cummings, as well as Jim Zielinski, his swing coach. "Both have really helped me improve as a golfer," said Michael. "I started lessons with C.W. and he encouraged me to play competitively at junior tournaments around the area. I really enjoyed it. It was a challenge and I really love challenges. That's why I stuck with golf. I also love baseball, but I think golf is my ticket to college."
"I can't say enough about Coach Deaton (John) who has been helping me find a college where I can continue my career," said Michael. "He has been a big influence on me during my years at Manila. I really don't care where I play, as long as I get to play golf. I know I have a lot of work to do, but I am looking forward to the challenge. I think my strength is my driving. I've always been able to hit the ball a long way, even when I was little, and I have become a pretty good putter as well. I just need to fine-tune the rest of my game. I used to try to hit the ball as hard as I could, but now I look to put it in the fairway and get the ball close to the hole. I think that's where I've improved the most, is in my mental approach to the game."
"I hope to be a coach after I graduate from college," continued Shedd. "I would like to coach golf at a small college or a big high school."
Michael believes his little sister has an excellent chance of getting a golf scholarship too. "I will be in college and won't be able to help Mikayla as much, but my dad will be there and he knows as much about the game as I do, if not more," said Michael.
The Shedds also have a younger sister, nine year old McKenzie. "She's tried golf but I think cheerleading is going to be her thing," concluded Michael.