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MONTICELLO — Calvin Fisher's recent athletic life has been consumed by basketball.

The 6-foot-6 Monticello senior has dedicated his last three summers to the hardwood.

It's the sport he's going to play in college.

But with the help of a little peer pressure, Fisher found himself at the Monticello Golf Club for tryouts to join a Sages golf team coming off of a Class 1A state fourth-place finish last season.

So, Fisher, who golfed as a freshman, dusted off his clubs and played his first round of golf in two years.

Two months later, he shot a team-best 78 at the Class 1A Bismarck-Henning Sectional to help lead the Sages back to state as a team, beginning today at Prairie Vista Golf Course in Bloomington.

"It's been good to take a break from basketball right now," Fisher said. "For three straight years, I've playing non-stop. But, I'm getting ready to get back into basketball after state."

Fisher is the first to admit he's pushed by top golfer Noah Wright, and he's just fine being the second fiddle on the links.

His game has grown in leaps and bounds as the season has progressed.

“The season has been his improvement time,” Monticello coach Andrew Turner said. “He didn't play a lot in the summer. He was doing so much basketball.

“His improvement from the beginning — he was always hitting the ball well, because of how good of an athlete he is he could always hit it well. But it's been fun to watch him start to analyze the game and make decisions based on where he is and how far away and understanding distances.”

Fisher has also seen himself evolve as a golfer, thanks, in part to playing with Wright.

“Honestly, when I was a freshman I was a good golfer but not nearly what I am now,” Fisher said. “I've gotten better over the years."

The two often play at the par-36 golf club, where prior to this season, Fisher had never shot in the 30s.

Golfing with Wright by his side, Fisher did so four times.

Both golfers are highly competitive. Turner sees them push each other.

“That's maybe the first time he's beat Noah all season,” Turner said of Fisher beating Wright by one stroke at sectionals. “I think they've fed off each other. I think Noah has enjoyed that competition a little bit. That's been good for both of them.”

The Sages returned two golfers who scored at state from last season's team, Wright and Cameron Dyson.

After last season, Fisher's teammates convinced him that with him on the team, they could return to state. It was all but a foregone conclusion that barring injury, Wright would find himself back as state — on a team or individually. But Wright also had a message for Fisher in his recruiting pitch.

"He's like, 'If you come back, we have two other guys who can shoot low. So come and shoot low for us and we can easily make it,'" Fisher said.

Even Dyson, who didn't play basketball last season, had a one-for-one bet with Fisher. If Fisher golfed again, Dyson would play basketball again.

Fisher said the bet is still on.

Senior Mitch Carr will tee off for the Sages at 8:30 a.m. today. Senior Alex Marquardt (8:39 a.m.), Dyson (8:48 a.m.), Wright (9:06 a.m.) and Fisher (9:15 a.m.) will round out the Sages golfers.

Though it's a group of new faces, Turner isn't entirely surprised to be back at state.

“What I've said from the very beginning of the season was talent was there, it was just whether or not we could get everybody improved quickly enough,” Turner said.

“If we could get them to work on game, stay focused and keep improving. I've coached basketball for a lot of years and golf for several years. One of my mottos for all of my teams has been: Sprint to the finish line. Right now our finish line is sometime Saturday afternoon, hopefully.”



Reporter for Lee Enterprises Central Illinois.

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