‘Splendid’ state champion golfers coped with pressure

Lisa Johnston | lisajohnston@archstl.org
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The St. Joseph's Academy golf team was simply splendid this year.

Just ask senior Emily Guzy.

She used "splendid" as her "secret word" to help concentrate at the state finals, and it certainly worked out. Guzy led St. Joseph's to the state championship in Class 2, scoring 78 in the first round and a two-day score of 164, best on the team and good for 14th in the field of 89 golfers.

Guzy summarized the journey to the state finals as a bit bittersweet because it was her last year of high school golf.

"There definitely was a lot of work we put into it, practicing every day," she said. "There definitely were struggles along the way when I had troubles with my swing. But we came together and we were really close as a team."

Guzy felt pressure in the state finals because of an intense desire to contribute to a win. Normally the fifth-ranked player on the team, she usually faced less pressure than the other golfers. At state, she followed her coach's advice to take it one shot at a time and forget about trying to make up for mistakes or high scores.

That's where the word "splendid" comes in, with an assist from St. Joseph's coach Carol Fromuth.

"It's something new she told me that I tried at state, to pick a favorite word and make that the last thought you have before you hit your shot," Guzy said, adding that "splendid" has been a favorite word for a long time. "I'd write in birthday cards, 'Have a splendid birthday.' It just makes me smile."

Fromuth called Guzy's effort "a great accomplishment" and reminded her player that "golf is fun."

"Going into it, I never would have thought I would have shot my best round ever at state on the first day," Guzy said. "But I'm so glad I did. It was a great way to end my senior year of golf, to go out on that."

Guzy's main sport in grade school was soccer, but she played golf on a CYC team at Immaculate Conception Parish in Dardenne Prairie as a way of being with her friends. She took lessons before she entered high school to improve her swing and started to take the sport more seriously. After her sophomore year, she stopped playing soccer and focused on golf.

"It's an individual sport, but it's also nice to have the team aspect," Guzy said. "There were times when I didn't shoot very well and the other girls did, and they picked me up."

Freshman Grace Aromando benefited from the senior's wisdom and spirit, calling Guzy her big sister.

"I really wanted to get to state, but I didn't always think it would happen," she said. "I didn't play very good at state. When everyone else did, it brought my spirits up."

Aromando's performance was more than decent, however, as she shot a two-day score of 167, ranking second-best on the team and 23rd overall.. She traces her love of golf to going to the driving range with her dad when she was 3 years old. "He bought me a set of clubs, and ever since I've been in love with it," Aromando said.

Though she sometimes lets a bad performance affect her, she thinks of something happy at those times. She joked that she might use the word "splendid" next year.

St. Joseph's finished second at state last year and missed going to state by one stroke in 2014. This year, Grace Renfer shot 169, good for 24th place; sophomore Lauren Gallagher shot 175, for 38th place; and junior Meaghan Hamilton shot 182, for 51st place.

Renfer shot 89 the first day but bounced back with 80 the next day. Prayer before the second round helped. In prayer, she reminds herself that "everything is possible through Christ," she said.

Likewise, Guzy leans on God when she gets frustrated with her game.

"I need to be reminded it's not going to be the end of the world, and I'll use Him to help me stay in the right mindset," she said. 

>> Stars at state

Emily Guzy of St. Joseph's Academy and Kathryn Keuss of Cor Jesu Academy both scored 164 for the two days of the Class 2 state high school golf championship, tying for 14th place. They led all golfers from Catholic schools in the archdiocese in Class 2.

In Class 1, Visitation Academy's Ashton Sinak finished seventh, scoring 164. Emma Katherine Buell of Villa Duchesne took 15th place with a score of 170. Veronica Loomis of Visitation Academy ended in 21st place with a score of 176.

>> Tennis

In the state tennis tournament, Ellie Burger of St. Joseph's Academy took second place in the Class 2 singles competition. Burger lost to Caroline Ponzo of Lafayette High School after defeating Mary Host of Rock Bridge High School 6-1, 6-0 in the semifinals.

In doubles, Gemma Miller and Maura Engelhorn of Incarnate Word Academy made the semifinals in Class 1. 

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