The all-stater is back.
And still making a statement.
Playing competitive golf for the first time since finishing tied for ninth (77) in last fall's Class AA state final, Prospect's Noreen Caporusso earned medalist honors with a 37 on Tuesday at the Mt. Prospect Golf Club as the Knights defeated Maine South 159-173.
Caporusso underwent knee surgery on May 9 after suffering an injury in April at the Mid-Suburban League badminton meet.
"It felt awesome and was so much fun to be back playing with my team," said Caporusso, who owns the second-best round (70) in Prospect girls golf history.
Caporusso was followed by teammates Kacie O'Donnell (39), Kiley Walsh (41) and Ally Scaccia (42).
Annie Krall (39) was the top scorer for Maine South, which is coached by Jeff Hamann; he's the brother of Knights coach Jim Hamann.
Jim Hamann said Caporusso will carefully make her comeback.
"You could see in her eyes she was really fired up to be back," Hamann said. "We are going to take it slowly and let her leg be the boss. Right now, we are working on nine holes and trying to get her the endurance to play 18."
Caporusso got her first birdie on hole No. 5, a dogleg right on the MP layout.
"It began a little shaky," she said of her round. "I wasn't feeling my best but then I started focusing more and was able to pull myself together."
Hamann was not surprised at Caporusso's score after the long layoff.
"Not one bit," said Hamann, who has watched his the senior play on his 2011 state championship team and his state-runner-up squad last year.
"Noreen comes to practice every day and then she is still not done. She then goes to physical therapy, ices, and then has to go do homework. She has put in a ton of time. I can't imagine how good this feels for her to be playing again."
"It's crazy," Caporusso said of her quick return. "To think how far I've come in the last four months and especially with the week-by-week improvement once I've started running on the elliptical machine.
"I'm just trying to enjoy myself and get better at this point."
Hamann sees some areas in which Caporusso has improved.
"Her short game is better than last year," he said. "And she is better putter and that is because she's really worked the entire summer on both of those things.
"I am so proud of how she has worked on her golf game and her health. I am not a bit surprised she came out with this round."