Golf: Young Hubs eager to improve on the course

Junior Megan Thiravong will eye her third straight IHSA State Championship appearance this season. (Photo by Russell Hodges)

Two-time state qualifier Thiravong headlines returning players

ROCHELLE — Megan Thiravong has reached the IHSA State Championship in each of the last two seasons, and the junior golfer will tee off her quest for an unprecedented third state appearance when the Rochelle varsity golf team opens the 2019 season with its Interstate Eight Conference debut against Ottawa on Wednesday, Aug. 21.

The Hubs started practices at Fairways Golf Course this week, and the team will travel for two road matches (head-to-head with Ottawa and nonconference triangular with Dixon and Freeport) next Wednesday and Thursday. A two-time All-Conference player when Rochelle was in the Northern Illinois Big 12, Thiravong appears primed for the No. 1 varsity spot this season.

“I’m excited to see so many freshmen out for the team this year,” Thiravong said. “They’ve been making great contact with the ball and I’m really excited for the season. It all starts with confidence, especially at practice, and I won’t be surprised if our team performs well this year… I’m hoping to finish in the top 10 in the state, so we’ll see where things go from here.”

Low roster numbers resulted in a tough 2018 season for the Hubs, who finished last in the NIB-12 and went the entire campaign without logging one victory. That trend may continue this season, as Rochelle looks primed to return only three varsity starters including Thiravong, junior Reese Kirk and sophomore Shepard Hayes. However, the Hubs are confident in their ability to improve and post better scores as the season progresses.

“It feels great coming back for another season,” Kirk said. “We have 10 kids this season instead of eight kids, and I think we have a chance to do better and win some matches. Staying calm during matches and not getting frustrated while playing will be important. It’s always fun having new kids come out.”

Rochelle will have plenty of opportunities to make strides this season, as the Hubs will compete in seven tournaments (including the Interstate Eight Conference Championships) before beginning the IHSA Regionals in early October. Rochelle will host Kaneland for its home opener on Tuesday, Aug. 27.

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