Girls golf: Geneva's Clark focused on having fun first
Geneva junior girls golfer Reese Clark is looking at the brighter side of things this fall.
"This summer I really tried to focus on staying positive," she said.
Clark was a heavy participant in the summer youth tournament circuit, playing in seven IJGA/MAJGT events. Clark won an event at St. Andrews in West Chicago and took home top honors at the IJGA Player of the Year tournament at The Highlands of Elgin. Clark ranks fifth currently in the IJGA 16-18 girls division.
"The summer is considered important," she said. "Back-to-back tournaments mean a lot and count toward your scoreboard ranking. You go into these tournaments with high pressure and you want to do good. That's hard to do when all you think about is shooting as low as you can. So, it's mostly been mental with me. In the end, college coaches want to see people who are positive players. I have done a pretty good job of staying calm regardless of how I am playing."
Clark has taken her own advice and put it to use this fall for the Vikings.
"My logic is to not think about scoring low," she said. "The past years I thought about shooting low so I could get to state, win sectionals, win conference. The logic now is to not think about it. I definitely have a tendency of overthinking courses. I'm treating it like all sports. It's supposed to be fun where you are talking to other people and being loose. I'll focus when I need to be tuned in."
Clark continues to lead Geneva on the course and off it. "Reese Clark continues to lead the team with a scoring average a few strokes over par and with her strong leadership for the girls," Geneva coach Jordan Zimberoff said.
Clark said college golf is something she has her eye on. "The recruitment process is a lot harder than people make it sound," she said with a laugh. "And now with COVID, the process is delayed. If it works out for me, it works out. Whatever happens, I know I will practice as hard as I can and play as hard as I can to get me where I want. If it happens great. If it doesn't, I guess it stinks then."
Clark took fourth last year in the DuKane Conference and has her sights on winning the tournament later this month at Phillips Park in Aurora. "I'm looking forward to hopefully the conference meet and whatever else comes after that," she said. "I'm going to save up all my good golf for that. I have a list of goals and winning the conference is definitely one of them."
Clark was part of Geneva's Class AA state-qualifying team last year and finished tied for 44th individually.
Naperville North update:
The Huskies recorded a 168-199 win against Metea Valley at Stonebridge Country Club in Aurora. Ashlyn Bhatia was the meet medalist for North with a 39. Eshani Ragam shot a 42. "We played well on a tough course with tough greens," Naperville North coach Greta Williams said.
The Huskies split a Mid-Suburban tri-meet with Barrington and Rolling Meadows at Bonnie Dundee in East Dundee, losing to the Fillies and defeating the Mustangs. Hersey then edged town neighbor St. Viator by a single stroke at Rob Roy in Prospect Heights to move to 8-4 in duals. Junior Sydney Ohr has been the Huskies' medalist in three of the last four meets, averaging a 40.
In the St. Viator win, Ohr tied the school record with personal-best 9-hole score of 36.
"The girls have improved their consistency and started to limit their blowup holes," Hersey coach Dan Vesper said. "One of the stats we really look at is the 'bogey or better' one, and all the girls improved this week."
Vesper pointed out sophomore Julia Chudzinski's score has counted in three meets this season, while freshmen Raegan Nelson and Ava Johnsen have also had counting scorers. "Our young guns are stepping up already," he said.
And continuing on the young guns front, sophomore Taylor Jansen recently made a hole-in-one on the third hole during a practice round at Nickol Knoll in Arlington Heights.
Neuqua Valley update:
Neuqua Valley is 3-0 in duals. The Wildcats downed Naperville North on a fifth-score tiebreaker and shot a 158 against Naperville Central with four scores of 40 or lower. Junior Sarah Zheng has been the medalist in all three duals and the lone tournament Neuqua has played in. Freshman Rebecca Wu, senior sister Isabelle Wu, junior Gia Pelzer and senior Lanette Choi also have been key contributors. "We have good top-tier scores and nice depth -- a nice combination," Neuqua coach John Keller said. "It's the deepest lineup we have ever had."
The Patriots went a season-low 154 against Mundelein last week at Cranes Landing at the Marriott in Lincolnshire. Emily Duan shot a 35 at Cranes and also chipped in from 90 yards out on her last hole. "
The Fillies shot identical 150s in MSL tri-meet wins against Prospect and Hoffman Estates, and Hersey and Rolling Meadows. Sophia Sulkar shot a 36 in the Prospect/Hoffman wins, while Mara Janess and Leah Gaidos each shot 36 in the Hersey/Meadows wins. It was a season-low for Gaidos. Sophia Denison shot a season-low 37 (that included an eagle) in the Prospect/Hoffman meet.
The Cougars defeated Hoffman Estates and Elk Grove where Sarah Carr shot 45. "Sarah has been playing very consistent and steady this season," Conant coach Megan Hebert said.
Benet Academy update:
Both Benet varsity and JV squads are 7-0. Reagan Rodenbostel shot 42 and 38 in wins against Nazareth and Joliet Catholic, while Grace George shot 41 both days. Senior Lauren Lukitsh broke 40 for the first time in competition last week, while Olivia Ruffalo led the way with a 37 in the win against JCA.
The Knights went 4-2 in four contests last week (tri-matches factored in). Bri Arzbaecher leads the team in scoring at just over 42 for nine. Coach Brad Rathe said the biggest surprise has been the emergence of sophomore Kate Riesing. Against Fremd, her 42 from the sixth position was the clincher for Prospect. "Kate has been extremely consistent and has done an awesome job since jumping to varsity this year," he said.
Want your team/players featured? Contact Daily Herald girls golf insider Mike Miazga at firstname.lastname@example.org.