All-Calhoun County boys golf: Okins helped White Plains bring home 4A state title

·3 min read

Jun. 26—WHITE PLAINS — Kenny Okins graduated from White Plains High School as class historian, a state champion and a Calhoun County player of the year.

For leading the Wildcats to a Class 4A state title, White Plains' first team state title in boys sports, Okins is The Anniston Star's Calhoun County player of the year for boys golf.

Okins won the county tournament, Viking Invitational sectional and sub-state tournament. He came in second in the White Plains Invitational and the state 4A tourney in Mobile.

He was in position to tie the leader when inclement weather forced an early end to the state tourney at Robert Trent Jones-Magnolia Grove.

After what White Plains coach Chris Randall called "boring 69s" because of Okins' efficient play, the senior finished the season with a 71.01 stroke average.

Okins is playing in summer tournaments, with the Future Masters in Dothan next on his slate. He's also preparing to play for Southern Union Community College.

He took a few minutes to discuss his final season of high school golf and more for the player-of-the-year Q&A:

Question: Now that you've had time to reflect on such a successful season, what comes to mind?

Answer: It was just an all around good season. Out of the nine tournaments we played as a team, we won seven of them. It was just a great year for us. It was a lot of fun to be a part of.

Q: How did it feel to leave Mobile with that blue trophy?

A: It meant a lot, knowing how special it was because being the first team to do it for men's sports at White Plains. We knew it was a pretty big moment, and we had worked for it for a while.

Q: Coach Randall said the key for this team was protecting from overconfidence and making sure you guys took the regular season seriously. What was the mindset?

A: It was a big deal. We had to make sure that we stayed focused, because, while we were one of the best teams in the division, we'd gone to state and lost before. We were very serious when we went down to Mobile. We knew exactly what we needed to do.

Q: How do you feel about your season, individually?

A: I started off not great at the Blue-Gray. I shot 9 over for two days, and then after it I started playing real well. I won a good amount of the tournaments we played after that. Something was just clicking, and I was just putting some good scores up.

Q: What do you hope to do with golf?

A: I've talked with Mark Blackburn, who's my swing coach down at Greystone, and he thinks that after a year or two down at Southern Union I could go to most Division I colleges and play with them. I don't know. I'll go down there and play my best and see what I can do with it.

Q: Are you hopeful of making a career of it?

A: Yes, that's still what I hope to do.

Q: You were historian for your senior class at White Plains. What was it like to speak at graduation?

A: I didn't know I was speaking until about two days before. I wasn't given much of an outline for it, so I just kind of tried to think of something that showed our class as a whole, and I think our class has just been through a lot with COVID. I was trying to think of a way to really connect with our entire class.

Sports Writer Joe Medley: 256-235-3576. On Twitter: @jmedley_star.

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