It might not be much of a trip for Columbus North grad Jake Coffey to move to Marion to join the Indiana Wesleyan golf team, but he’s going to pack some frequent flier miles after he gets there.
“We start the season in Michigan, then go to Panama,” Coffey said. “It’s a fun way to start.”
Coffey, 18, begins college in the fall. He also will have some extra funds for school costs after he was awarded $15,000 for the Andy Critzer Memorial Scholarship on June 14.
“It’s a big deal,” he said. “It’s an honor to win it.”
The scholarship honors Critzer, a high school golfer who was killed in an automobile accident in 1985. Chuck Grimes, who was Critzer’s varsity coach at North at the time, describes how it started.
“His teammates got together right after his death,” Grimes said. “The following year we started holding a golf tournament in his honor.”
The first scholarship, given out in 1987, was for $500. Since then, the Andy Critzer Scholarship has grown substantially.
“We’ve raised close to half a million dollars in the last 28 years,” said Bill Schroeder, a longstanding member of the Andy Critzer Memorial Scholarship Committee. “It has grown quite a bit. And that’s due to the support of the community.”
Golfers from North, Columbus East and Hauser high schools are eligible for the scholarship. The tournament, a four-member-per-team scramble, has taken place most of the years at Otter Creek in early June.
Coffey played in a foursome that finished third in this month’s tourney. The team carded a 59.
“Not too bad,” Coffey said.
Coffey’s favorite golfer is Ernie Els. His dream job would be to follow Els’ path and become a pro golfer. Coffey’s handicap is 1.2.
“But I haven’t put in my scores lately,” Coffey said. “It should be a little lower.”
Applicants for the scholarship have to submit an essay and are asked to turn in an evaluation that is made by their teammates, coaches and teachers. In addition, applicants are judged on their grade-point average, how they contribute to the community and their success on their varsity golf team. Coffey fit the bill.
“I worked hard, kept my grades up and kept my head in the right place,” he said. “I feel like I am a deserving winner.”