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High Schools

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Samuel Hoffman | The Journal Gazette
DeKalb senior golfer Kristen Konieczki has seen her 18-hole average drop by about four strokes this year to 82.

Staying the course may not be plan

DeKalb senior undecided about her college golf plans

Kristin Konieczki has a higher calling than golf.

The DeKalb senior’s plans include going into youth ministry or family psychology and that might mean an end to her golf career.

“I want to go to a Christian school and ideally I have one school in mind but with golf, and it is a Division I school, and I am not sure I want to take that on my freshman year of college because I want to stay focused on my academics. I am considering it, but I haven’t made any decisions yet,” she said.

The 2011 All-NHC first-team player spent a week in New Orleans on a mission trip and got back to Indiana just as the golf season was beginning in late July.

“The day I got back from New Orleans was the first day of practice,” she said. “So I hadn’t picked up a club in a week, and I knew I had to focus and get down to business and prepare. I just wanted to work on consistency and being able to shoot well.”

The youth mission trip included a gathering of about 33,000 people that included meetings in the Superdome, the home of the New Orleans Saints, for worship.

“It was really neat, and I am really glad I got to go,” she said. “It was a big part of my summer. Although it took away from my practice time from golf, I would go on a mission trip again in a heartbeat.”

Konieczki’s game, though, hasn’t suffered. Her 18-hole average has dropped about four strokes this year to 82, and the team has won three of five invitationals and is 3-0 in the NHC.

Just like her calling, the Barons lone senior’s role is to lead.

“I have been in so many tournaments, whether it be during the summer or the season, that I don’t usually get nervous,” Konieczki said.

“Come regional or state, yeah, there is more pressure there but I know I have to lead the team, and I know I have to have that low score because if I have an off day that kind of brings the other girls down. They expect me to step up, and I don’t blame them. It is a little pressure. And my dad (Tony) is the assistant coach, so there’s additional pressure there because he knows my game inside and out. It is good and bad. The pressure is there, but it is not constantly bugging me.”

The Barons possess some good young talent – especially freshman Katie Skidmore – and coach Erren West expects Konieczki to be a mentor, a far different role than when she was a freshman looking up to the older players, including older sister Allison.

“Kristen has the experience at every level in IHSAA golf,” West said. “She is calm, cool and collected under pressure and can share those experiences with Katie. Kristen is a fierce competitor who wants to play with the best players because she knows they will challenge her to play her best.”

The leadership role is fine with Konieczki.

“I have been around, and I know what to do,” she said. “It’s nice knowing that the girls count on me, and they trust me. I know I can lead them because I have gone through this stuff before. It is very important to me because golf has been a big part of my life for a long time. Being able to lead these girls is really cool for me.”

gjones@jg.net

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