After placing fourth in the state meet as a freshman, it shouldn’t have surprised many that a future in college golf was on the horizon for Elijah Groshelle.
Far fewer would’ve likely guessed the former CM Russell High star would be double-dipping this coming fall as a college football placekicker. However, kicking is in Groshelle’s blood.
Groshelle, the son of former Montana State and Arena Football League kicker Geoff Groshelle, is soon heading to the Frontier Conference to compete in both golf and football for Rocky Mountain College in Billings.
The four-time All-State golfer didn’t go out for football until his junior year with the Rustlers, and a knee injury hampered much of a season spent on JV. But in his senior year he proved to be a natural, hitting 5 of 5 field goal attempts last fall and 36 of 38 extra points.
“I’ve always loved football but I didn’t play (early on) because I was so busy with golf and I was like ‘might as well try it,’ my junior year,” Groshelle said. “It was nice having my dad as a coach, so I caught on pretty fast.”
Geoff played for the Bobcats from 1994 to 1997 where he made 32 career field goals, which still stands as fifth all-time in Montana State history. Having also played for the Arena League’s Colorado Crush in the early 2000s, Geoff’s expertise was certainly a boon to his son’s success, Groshelle said.
“It was great, because he knew everything technically-wise,” Groshelle said. “He kicked for so many years and then he played Arena Football for a while, so, everything technical he helped with.”
Groshelle’s season-long 42-yarder this past season also ranked him first in the Eastern AA, in which he was an all-conference pick and Shrine Game all-star selection.
Alongside the familial connection to kicking, Groshelle said he’s found his golf experience has helped his progression.
“Mentally, I just used what I’d learned in golf,” Groshelle said. “There wasn’t much stress going into football because I’d played golf for so long. A 40-yard field goal is the same as a three-foot putt, you know? Mentally, golf is so hard, so that’s why kicking seemed so much easier. There isn’t much pressure on a PAT whereas in golf every shot counts.”
On the links, Groshelle followed up his freshman performance at state with a third-place showing his sophomore year and finished All-State within the top 15 in his final two seasons (T-12th11th).
Groshelle credits veteran golf mentor Brian Halverson, who retired from the program in January after 22 seasons, for much of his success at CMR.
“Coach Halverson was probably the best mentor and coach that I’ve had in my life so far,” Groshelle said. “So, honestly, he made playing golf for CMR the most fun. It was great to go out and play and have him behind me, and our team was pretty close. I learned a lot throughout those four years, from freshman year playing in the snow (at the 2019 state meet) to this past year playing at state and then running to a football game was pretty interesting as well.”
Groshelle said he’s excited to continue his dual duties at Rocky Mountain College. Both the football and golf programs have offered flexibility with the overlapping schedules in both the fall and spring.
“The coaches had talked with me and they were totally down with me to do both,” Groshelle said. “That was a big reason, too, and they were really accepting and were willing to work around the schedule. So, if I have to miss some time in the spring with spring (football) practice, they said they’d be willing to let that happen, and if I needed a shortened practice, they’d be willing to let me do that if I needed to do a golf practice, or vice-versa.”
As he heads to Billings for the next level, Groshelle said he’s grateful for the mentorship he and many others received at CMR.
“We had a lot of ups and downs but at the end of the day, CMR does a very good job of the people they hire,” Groshelle said. “Our coaches and especially our assistant coaches are some of the best assistants you could find around the state. I learned a lot from a lot of different people and people that weren’t necessarily my position coach or whatever. CMR does a great job of surrounding the kids with the coaches that they need and coaches that they like.”
This article originally appeared on Great Falls Tribune: CMR’s Groshelle to play golf and football at Rocky Mountain College