Cole Camp Golf Coach Reflects On State Championship Season


Some coaches never win a state championship. Some never even get close. Jared Espey won one in his first season as head coach of the Cole Camp golf team.

The BCE had a chance to interview Coach Espey and discuss Cole Camp's monumental past season.

JL: In your first year, your team wins state? How does that feel?
Coach Espey: When I took this job, I had high expectations for the team due to all of the members being successful and winning state in the past. I told the team from day one that we were going to have high goals for the year we working on working through high expectations. I think at times the weight of wanting to be perfect got to us, but we made sure the guys remembered they are all great golfers and if they just play to their ability we would be fine.

JL: Tell me about the events of the tournament. I saw you came from behind.
Coach Espey: We shot probably our worst team score of the year on the first day. We changed up our plans for that night, and took some time as a team to rebond and just have a plan for day two. We knew if we came out and just played to our ability we would work back into contention. We started out 16 strokes back, and Matthew bright himself went from a 91 day one to a 78 day two. That shift alone put some pressure on the other teams.
The rest of the team did an excellent job as well just playing their games. Every stroke counted and each member did an excellent job. We shot a 328 day two which was the lowest for both days in the tournament.

JL: How did you do individually.?
Coach Espey: Individually each member did great. Spencer Godwin placed 6th, Matthew Bright placed 11, Gage Oelrichs placed 12, and Tyler Howard placed 20th.

JL: Did you see the team grow during season?
Coach Espey: I feel as the team matured more than grew. These players now have two state championships, and a 4th place in state on their resume. They learned a little more about handling both positives and negatives on the course. I hope they learned how to handle adversity a bit.

JL: How good wil you be next year?
Coach Espey: Next year the team will be different, Matthew and Tyler are moving on to State Tech. I think the goals will still be high but it will be more individual rather than team. Spencer and Gage both have the ability to win tournaments next year. If they put in the work this summer they both will be forces to reckon with. Colton Thompson will step up and be a solid member on the team as well. We will need to fill the 4 spot.

JL: Anything you wish to add?
Coach Espey: Luke Heisterberg was my assistant this year and he was amazing. His connection to the kids and knowledge of the game was irreplaceable. Triple Creek, our home course was great, we are able to practice a course that is as good as any in our area and state. They provide us so much, without them we would not be where we are as a team. Sedalia CC allowed us to have bunker practice prior to state, since we don't have sand at Triple Creek. That practice was super important and made a difference in our win also.
There are so many more who helped and donated along the way. I really want to thank the players, families, school, and community. We hope we made them proud through our play and actions.

There you have it. Howard and Bright leaves behind two state championship, a fourth place finish and four Benton County Cup victories with help from other gifted players, good coaches, and great community support. We wish the program the very best in the future.