BELOIT—Beloit Memorial junior Griffin Oberneder had a dream spring set up.
A football season, followed in short order by golf. Two of his favorite pastimes, all wrapped up in a couple of months.
Oberneder, the Purple Knights’ starting quarterback, saw his plans altered by a strained Achilles tendon.
Certain to be out of action on the gridiron, Oberneder chose to join the golf squad a few weeks earlier than planned.
“Beloit Memorial has a rule that you can’t play more than one sport at a time,” Oberneder said. “So the injury made that choice a little easier, but it was still difficult because I wasn’t allowed to go to football practice or anything. But the guys were all really supportive, and that made it easier. It was tough sitting out all the games I missed, but especially the last one against Verona. That’s the game we figured that I would be close to 100 percent and be able to play in.”
The Knights football team went through the spring season winless, but Oberneder said he noticed a new spirit around the team.
“We only had a small amount of guys, but we really came together,” Oberneder said. “I’ve been around the program for quite a while with my dad coaching, and when a team would get down early, they would kind of quit. Well, against Verona, we were down 21-0 right away, and by halftime it was 21-14. Never once all season did I see the guys quit or turn on each other. We stayed together the whole way, and we all believe in what coach Dement is telling us. We showed a ton of improvement as the year went on.”
Oberneder began his golf season with his best competitive round ever, a three-under 68 to lead the Knights.
“It had been a couple of years since I played high school golf, because we didn’t play last year at all,” Oberneder said. “It’s been a long time to wait, even though of course I had been playing tournaments and taking lessons from Travis Becker. It was a great way to start, that’s for sure.”
Oberneder said playing with a small but dedicated group that includes Connor Churchill, Kai Wong and Alex Hoey has been a blast. The Knights came up victorious at the Comet Invitational earlier this year.
“It’s been really fun playing Connor and Kai this year, and I played with Alex my freshman year,” Oberneder said. “It’s been great playing on a team that’s competitive. This year, we feel like any tournament we go to, we can put up lower scores and compete. Winning in Delavan was great. Alex has really gotten a lot better, and Kai has had some nice rounds also. We just need to keep improving and hopefully we’ll be competing at the highest level when we need to at the end of the season.”
Playing sports beyond high school is one of Oberneder’s goal. He just has to decide which one.
“I’d love to play somewhere,” Oberneder said. “I love both football and golf, and playing at the next level would be awesome. I don’t know if I could choose right now. I guess it’ll just come down to wherever the opportunity is best.”
The Knights have a busy week, playing Thursday, Friday and Saturday, with Friday being the Beloit Invitational, held at Krueger-Haskell Golf Course.
While there is still plenty to accomplish this spring, Oberneder said he hopes the summer will be eventful as well.
“Playing in the Men’s City Tournament the last couple of years has been really fun,” Oberneder said. “My dad has been on the bag for me, and he likes to kid me that my best rounds have been with him as my caddy, and he’s not wrong about that. This year though he’s going to play instead of caddy, so I’ll be on my own. But it’s a really exciting tournament to play in, and one of goals is definitely to eventually win it.”