Girls golf: Lake Zurich's Pouyat turns hard work into positive results
To say Lake Zurich girls golf coach Mel Fox has been impressed with the approach junior Kiana Pouyat has taken to her game, might be a tad of an understatement.
"Kiana has been working on her game all summer and it is certainly showing," Fox said. "All of her hard work and practice over the summer is paying off. She is the most dedicated player on the team, practicing daily to better her game. What a great summer she had, bringing her into her best high school season yet."
A recent 2-over 37 against Lake Forest gave Pouyat her fourth medalist round of the season. Earlier, Pouyat finished second at the Libertyville invitational with a 4-over 75 at Shepherd's Creek in Zion.
"I have carried my game from the summer to the school season," Pouyat said. "I haven't made any dramatic improvements. I have improved around the green and have worked with a trainer and have gained some yardage so I have an easier shot into the greens."
Pouyat estimates she's added about 50 yards to her drive. "I was only hitting it 200 or 210 yards before," she said. "Now, I am around 250 to 260. It always feels good to bomb a drive."
She also fine-tunes the mental side of her game via a variety of methods, including listening to podcasts, journaling and doing breathing exercises. "My swing coach is big into the mental side of the game," Pouyat explained. "Golf is such a mental sport in general. It helps when you get into those high-pressure situations."
Pouyat said her immediate goals are to do well in the COVID-truncated postseason in the conference and regional meets. Beyond, that she has her sights set on some out-of-state tournaments before the end of the year.
Her ultimate goal is to play golf at the Division I college level, and she's willing to put in even more hard work to achieve that payoff.
"My life kind of revolves around golf," she said. "I love the competitive side of the sport. I also have been able to meet some incredible people, including some of my best friends. I have made some great connections."
The Mustangs had a recent great stretch of golf that started with a third-place showing at the D117 invitational at Spring Valley in Salem, Wis., where junior Maddy Forster earned a fourth-place medal with an 84, and right behind her was junior Natalie Altenhoff with an 85. In a 175-178 win over Libertyville on the back nine of Countryside's Prairie course in Mundelein, Kellie Shanahan was the medalist with a 39, while Altenhoff shot 41. In a 182-188 win over Carmel on the front side of Countryside's Traditional course, Shanahan was the medalist with a 42. In a 194-197 win over Warren in the rain, Shanahan shot a 41. Shanahan shot 39, 42 and 41 in a recent 3-match stretch that helped the Mustangs win by 3 strokes each time. Shanahan also eagled the par-5 second hole on the Countryside Prairie course this season.
Coach Tom Kuhn said the consistent play of fourth and fifth golfers McKenzie Begg and Lucy Vecchie was key to a recent 3-match winning streak. Vecchie had a career-low 48 in a 3-stroke win over Libertyville.
The Fillies shot a pair of recent eye-opening rounds, including a 146 at Chevy Chase in Wheeling against Wheeling. In that contest, Mara Janess and Leah Gaidos each shot 35, while Sophia Sulkar shot 37 and Simran Singh finished with a 39. A day later, Barrington shot a 150 in a win over Schaumburg. Janess shot 34, while Gaidos had a 35. Singh shot 40 and Sulkar had a 41. It was the first time Gaidos, a freshman, had back-to-back rounds under par this season, coach Tim Martin noted.
The Knights moved to 11-2 overall and 9-1 in conference play with a tri-meet win over Conant and Schaumburg. Prospect shot 169 at Mount Prospect Golf Club, led by Emma Preissing's medalist-round 39.
In a recent win against Batavia at Hughes Creek in Elburn, Katherine Marshall led the Knights with a season-best 39. In a 159-175 win over West Aurora, Julia Skiba was the medalist for Kaneland with a 36. The Knights closed out last week with a win against Plano at Cedardell Golf Club in Plano where Skiba earned her second medalist honor in a row.
In the Corsairs' recent match against Benet, freshman Kate Roberts shot a team-low 43. "Kate is developing into a solid No. 1 golfer for us, scoring consistently in the 40s," Carmel coach Arnie Anima said.
Sophomore Kaylie McKenna and freshman Macaire Everett have been key contributors as well. "Kaylie and Macaire are solidifying themselves on varsity," Anima said.
McKenna and Everett shared team low honors in a recent match against Warren at Brae Loch in Grayslake. Everett shared team low accolades in a match against Marist at The Meadows Golf Club of Blue Island.
Anna Lee was medalist and Nitya Mehta and Irene Im shot season lows in Vernon Hills' recent win over Maine West at Vernon Hills Golf Course. Sydney Ohr shot 40 in Hersey's 180-211 win over Palatine at Palatine Hills. Gwen Collins shot 37 and Morgan Witte shot 39 in Rosary's 161-168 win over Wheaton-Warrenville South. Renata Petersen's 39 helped the Crystal Lake co-op team defeat Dundee-Crown. Petersen also shot a medalist-round 35 in a loss to Huntley at Red Tail in Lakewood.