There was plenty for Genoa-Kingston golfer Emily Wakeley to be nervous about when she headed out to Red Tail Run Golf Course in Decatur, Ill., on Saturday.
She was the first ever G-K girls’ golfer to qualify for the state meet. There was the rain delay that kept her off the course and in the clubhouse. And there was the fact that, as she went from hole to hole, she realized she was playing one of her best rounds of her career in her last meet of her high school career.
But for whatever reason, Wakeley never seemed nervous to Dirk Campbell, the Cogs athletic director who played the role of coach on Friday and Saturday.
“It was amazing to watch her be so calm from start to finish,” Campbell said. “It’s a huge stage, and you’re one of 111 kids left, and nothing bothers her … I was really impressed by the way she handled herself all weekend long.”
Wakeley kept loose throughout the day by talking to Campbell, her father, and her competitors about subjects ranging from her upcoming softball game to the merits of Goldfish crackers. But she wouldn’t discuss the upcoming hole.
“I like to talk to competitors. It’s not very pressure-filled if you’re talking to them,” Wakeley said. “I just wanted to go out there and have fun, and whatever happens, happens.”
This form of relaxation helped Wakeley to a score of 85 on Saturday and a total of 174 overall, good for 39th place in Class 1A.
“I think [the small-talk] allows her to just swing it,” Campbell said. “That’s what she did … She may have felt a lot of pressure, but on the outside, she sure doesn’t show it.”
Her constant chit-chat also helped calm her nerves throughout a rain delay that lasted for about two hours before play resumed.
About 50 miles away in Bloomington, Ill., the Kaneland boys’ team wasn’t so lucky.
The Knights were eager to golf on Saturday after putting up a disappointing score on Friday, but the second day of play was cancelled due to inclement weather shortly after most of the Kaneland golfers teed off.
Matt Yonkovich finished 42nd overall with a score of 82 on Friday, leading Kaneland to a 10th-place finish, but the Knights thought they could have done better.
“We were all disappointed in how we played … We were shaken up a little bit,” said senior Connor Williams, who came in with a score of 85, tying Luke Kreiter for second on the team. “I was just happy that we made it down as a team … I don’t think we should be ashamed of ourselves.”