Hole in one! WCHS golf team swings into a bright future


Photo Courtesy of @WCGOLF on Instagram

The WCHS golf team poses for a picture after their regional match. They went on to get fourth place in states.

By Michael Demske, Sports Editor

When was the last time you went to a golf match? Odds are most people have never been to one, let alone a match with high schoolers. High school golfers often are the first to feel the effects of a shrinking athletic budget and have an unfair reputation among their classmates. Aside from the occasional announcement, golf at WCHS is an afterthought and receives little attention from staff and students. Sam Bawden, a freshman on the WCHS golf team, believes getting hooked on golf is easy.

“Unfortunately golf is not a very popular sport among high schoolers,” Bawden said. “Once you figure out how the game is played and understand how challenging it really is, you gain more of an appreciation for it.”

The WCHS golf team is full of superstar players whose combination of youth and veteran leadership makes them a fun watch. Having such a young team should give WCHS students even more reason to support, as the team is set up very well for future success. 

“Even with a younger team, we were still able to have a good performance in the scheme of things this season,” Bawden said. “With the really young team we are able to spend the next four years improving together and no doubt we can expect even better performances in the years to come.”

Freshman golfer Zoe Cusack had a stellar season and proved herself to be one of the best golfers in the state. Alongside teammate Leele Kenwood, Cusack finished tied for fourth place in the MPSSAA State Championship’s individual competition. Bawden, Cusack and Kenwood make up the young core that looks to lead the team in the future. 

“Having a young team motivates us because it only means we will get better and grow throughout the years,” Cusack said. “That growth will lead us to even more success than we had this year.”

In a sport where there are team and individual events, it can be hard for a player to figure out what they are playing for. Showing her maturity, Cusack recognizes the importance of being a team player in a sport full of individual achievements. 

“Separating golf for myself and the team can be challenging at times, but it is important to realize the importance of a team and participating in it,” Cusack said. “I became a better golfer while participating on the team compared to just practicing alone.”

The team did just as well, finishing fourth in MPSSAA State Championship’s team competition. Seniors Caroline Chou and Collin Chen provided the positive veteran leadership needed to fuel their team’s success. 

“In the beginning, when everyone was first getting to know each other, I made sure all the new players felt included in conversations and that no one felt left out,” Chou said. “While golf is an individual sport, feeling supported by a team makes a huge difference.”

This inclusivity and support made a world of difference to the younger players. By helping them to improve on and off the course, the seniors brought about a sense of camaraderie that is shared by few teams. 

“Seniors like Caroline and Collin on the team bring great ideas and experiences to the team that helps me and everybody else on the team improve,” Cusack said. “Having past experience on the team, Collin and Caroline were able to help me and answer any questions I had which benefited me as a golfer.”

It is only natural to be hungry for success after getting a taste. After her fourth-place finish, Cusack has her sights set on winning a state championship. For others, growing as a golfer and a person takes priority over medals and trophies. 

“A personal goal of mine is just to get better mentally and physically. Staying loose over the off-season is a big part of that,” Bawden said. “As for the team, I have no doubt we will continue to improve and create a better team dynamic.”

With a great season in the books and high hopes for the future, Churchill golf is trending in the right direction. There is no doubt that the future generations of WCHS golf will look back on this team as the one that pioneered much success. For now, golfers like Chou want people to get out and fearlessly enjoy what golf has to offer.

“Don’t be afraid,” Chou said. “Being on that first tee box can be nerve-wracking, but just trust yourself and your swing. Have fun!”