Nikola Tatic has waited in the wings for four years, mindful of the opportunity he would have this season as a senior.
Though he's spent his previous three years on Munster's varsity boys golf team, this season he will likely emerge as the team's No. 1 golfer. He's dabbled in that position in the past, but now Tatic is ready to take on that role in a greater capacity.
"I feel like I'm ready for it," he said. "I've gotten the opportunity to play No. 1 a few times and I've had some good No. 1's I've played with that have gotten me in a position where it won't be a problem transitioning."
Knowing he'd be looked upon as a leader on the course this season, Tatic prepared to improve his long game with weight training. He's added about 20 yards to his drive and now averages around 270 yards per drive, giving him much more confidence approaching longer holes.
However, one of Tatic's biggest improvements has been in his short game. Knowing that was one of his weaker points, Tatic took extra measures to improve that area.
"I worked on it a lot last summer especially, because last season that's really what held me back," he said. "I struggled a little bit, and I put in a lot of time over the summer to make it better and help improve my scores."
Munster coach Bill Smitka knows he can count on Tatic both on and off the course. In addition to being what Smitka called "his assistant coach on the course," Tatic also serves as Smitka's aide for his government class at the high school.
"He's a big influence," Smitka said. "He was a great kid as a freshman and he's matured every year since. He leads by example and just goes about his business in such a mature fashion. I think the younger kids can see that."
Tatic shot a 90 at last year's LaPorte Regional, succumbing to mental mistakes he made during that round. That performance gives him the determination to turn it around this season.
"It motivates me a whole lot more, because I felt that last year was our best team in a while and that was our best chance to make it to state," he said. "As a team, hopefully we'll win conference and sectionals again and qualify for state."