Prospect grad Walsh excited about coaching opportunity at Bloomington
It seems like just yesterday Kiley Walsh was tearing up the links at the Mt. Prospect Golf Club.
Now she's ready to use all her experience in a different capacity.
Walsh, who helped lead Prospect to two state titles and one runner-up, was named the boys head golf coach at Bloomington High School, where she is also in her first year as a Spanish teacher.
"The idea of coaching at the high school level always felt like a very natural transition for me to stay involved with the game of golf," said Walsh, who also starred for Illinois State's women's golf team. "I feel very fortunate that my job allows me the opportunity to do so because I think I'd be feeling a lot of withdrawal without it."
In a random coincidence, Walsh's girls high school coach, Jim Hamann, is switching over to become the Knights' boys coach this fall.
Walsh never considered coaching boys golf until it became a possibility at Bloomington.
"And, when Hamann announced he was switching to the boys, I thought, 'oh, if Hamann can do it, I can do it,' " she said with a laugh. "And I could try to beat him. "Once it became a possibility that I could coach the boys, I was super excited to have the opportunity.
"I love encouraging the game of golf for all players, I just think this will be a new way for me to see golf, especially from the back tees."
Walsh won't have to wait long to see her former coach. The Raiders are scheduled to meet Hamann's boys on Sept. 7 at The Den at Fox Creek in Bloomington.
"Pretty much the moment I told Hamann I was coaching the boys, he sent a contract over for my team to join the match (with about two other schools involved)," Walsh said. "I'm pretty thrilled for the moment where we're both standing on a tee box just watching our players compete.
"The funny part is, they probably will hear the same things coming from Hamann and me. We talk a lot alike on the golf course, and I know I'm going to coach my players the way he coached me."
And that means Walsh was instructed from one of the best. Hamann is entering the hall of fame this month.
Walsh can't wait to pass on what she has learned from her many years playing the game.
"I listened and absorbed a lot from golf lessons and practices throughout my career so it makes me really excited whenever I have the opportunity to share with someone what I know about golf," she said.
Walsh also incorporates a lot of those lessons and mental aspects of her sports career into her daily life.
"I like thinking about my Spanish classroom as a team," she said. "I've even had us all put our hands together to do a '1-2-3 break!' before tackling a difficult assignment." she said. "Sports definitely exists in my life each day. So coaching is such a perfect transition.
"Being part of a team is where I feel most comfortable so I'm glad I didn't have to wait long to have it."
So she can't overstate how grateful she is to land the position so quickly. She calls it pretty much a dream come true to land a head coaching position so quickly in her professional career.
"Being grateful to Bloomington High School for allowing me these wonderful opportunities is an understatement," she said. "Truly everyone has welcomed me so warmly, and that beautiful school makes me so proud to be a Raider.
"It honestly gives me the biggest grin to look back and reflect on all that has gotten me to this point in my educational and athletic career. The coolest part of it all is that a huge step in this journey has only just begun."
Rolling Meadows senior shortstop and leadoff batter Sam Allen has committed to Bryant & Stratton College in Wauwatosa, WI.
Allen had a breakout junior campaign, when she batted .383 with 6 home runs and 26 RBI and showed her versatility, starting at shortstop, catcher and left field this spring. "Sam did a great job for us defensively and was a great leader for us on the field," said Rolling Meadows coach Tony Wolanski after her 2018 all-conference season. "She wants to win and is always trying to make her teammates better."
Hersey senior Cate Gudaitis has committed to the Carroll University track and field program in Waukesha, WI (shot put and discus). Gudaitis has been a multisport athlete throughout her high school career in volleyball, bowling, and track.
She was able to compete this year despite tearing her ACL last April.
Gudaitis was also the MVP on her bowling team this season under coach Mark Gunther.
Illinois Wesleyan senior midfielder Dani Engelbreit (Conant) was selected as a College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin Women's Lacrosse Player of the Week.
Engelbreit helped lead the Titans to a pair of CCIW wins to stay undefeated in conference play. She finished with 6 ground balls and 2 caused turnovers in an 8-7 win over Chicago followed by 8 ground balls and 2 caused turnovers in a 15-4 win at Carroll. Engelbreit added 11 draw controls, including 5 against Chicago and 6 against Carroll.
Engelbreit was accepted to Illinois State's graduate program. She will be a grad assistant coach the next two years at IWU. She will be in the Sports Management program. Currently, a psychology major with a minor in coaching, Engelbreit will be in sports management for her graduate work.
Augustana sophomore Matthew Schiferl (Wheeling) was named Most Outstanding Player for the Vikings this spring.
The 5-foot-6 libero led Augustana with 284 digs this year. He finished second in the MCVL in digs and his average of 2.93 per set ranked third in the league.
A two-time second team All-MCVL performer, Schiferl is Augustana's career record holder with 588 digs, 195 games and 54 matches played. He also holds school records for career digs per game (3.02), digs in a season (304), digs per game in a season (3.10) and digs in a match (25).
• Lewis' TJ Murray (Barrington) put down a kill during the Flyers' 10-3 run in the opening set of the Flyers' sweep over Loyola for the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association championship. The Flyers earned the MIVA automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament and improved to 25-5.
Augustana freshman Karsten Zielinski (Schaumburg) placed fifth in the 3,000 steeplechase in 9:55.67 at the Meet of Champions at Paul V. Olsen Track. The Vikings of first-year head coach Jake Shaver placed third in the 10-team meet with 131.50 points.
• Lewis' Vanessa Peinado (Hoffman Estates) took sixth in the 3,000 meters with a time of 11:23.86 at the Flyers' Twilight meet at Lewis Stadium.
Illinois Wesleyan freshman utility player Colleen Palczynski (Prospect) was selected as a College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin Softball Player of the Week. Palczynski batted .524 (11-for-21) with 8 runs, 2 doubles, 3 home runs, 8 RBI and a 1.048 slugging percentage for the Titans, who went 5-1. She finished a combined 2-for-6 with 2 runs, 1 home run and 1 RBI in a doubleheader split at Whitewater and was 5-for-7 with 4 runs, 1 double, 1 home run and 4 RBI in a sweep at North Park. She wrapped up the week going 4-for-6 with 2 runs, 1 double and 3 RBI in a sweep against Elmhurst.