Golf: Thiravong signs with Saginaw Valley State University

RTHS senior to study mechanical engineering, biochemistry

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The last four years have taught Lady Hub senior Megan Thiravong invaluable lessons that she’ll look to learn from as she takes the next step in her academics and her athletic career.

Thiravong will compete for the NCAA Division II Saginaw Valley State University women’s golf program after signing with the Cardinals earlier this month. A four-time IHSA State Championship qualifier, Thiravong made several historic marks on the RTHS program, becoming the first girl in nearly three decades to make at the state meet and the first girl to ever win a conference championship. Thiravong won two Interstate 8 titles over the last two years.

“SVSU is the best fit overall when considering my academics and golf career,” Thiravong said. “I was looking for a larger campus where I could compete with my peers in the lecture halls while having the ability to network easily between my professors. I definitely connected with Coach [Daniel] Allen and Coach [Matt] Pumford when my family and I visited the campus and I think their values run parallel to what I hope to accomplish in the near future.”

Thiravong made an immediate impact with the RTHS program, winning an IHSA 1A Regional and finishing second in her IHSA 1A Sectional while also taking third in the Northern Illinois Big 12 Conference Championship her freshman season. She took her skills to another level during her sophomore season, winning the A Flight of the Greater Rockford Women’s Golf Classic over the summer before improving her score at the IHSA 1A State Championship by 23 strokes, elevating her place in the state meet from 65th as a freshman to 20th as a sophomore.

“The course distance while playing with the boys forced me to concentrate on improving my accuracy to excel in competitions,” Thiravong said. “The distance and course management skills will carry into college since the course lengths and difficulty are similar. The Rochelle community and RTHS have propelled my golf career in a great direction. Coach [Glen] Mehrings and coach [David] Cartwright will always hold a special place in my heart.”

Thiravong became Rochelle’s first female conference champion when she won the Interstate 8 meet at Fairways Golf Course during her junior season. She also took seven more strokes off her score at the state meet, finishing in a tie for 12th place with 153. Thiravong competed on the Prep Tour and earned a few notable victories prior to her senior season, winning the Ogle County Junior Championship and the Championship Flight of the 2020 Greater Rockford event.

“I look forward to facing the competition and evolving my game through the guidance of my team and coaches,” Thiravong said. “From what I have witnessed, the ladies in our Division II region are well rounded and tough to the core, so it will definitely be an exciting journey to strive for a championship together as a team. I would like to strengthen the positive team dynamic and inspire a competitive spirit. I look forward to the sisterly camaraderie on the SVSU team and that we will all put in our best effort towards climbing the leaderboard together.”

Thiravong’s final season at RTHS included a second conference championship, a second-place regional finish and a third-place sectional finish. Thiravong would’ve competed at the state meet for a fourth time, but the 2020 IHSA State Championships were canceled due to COVID-19. Thiravong said she plans to study mechanical engineering while minoring in biochemistry.

“With my degree, I will further my studies in a graduate university while simultaneously developing medical devices for commercial distribution,” Thiravong said. “I hope I may act as an innovative ambassador for SVSU and the Rochelle community as a servant leader who advocates for progressive activities.”