Written by Mark Griffin
Friday, 17 October 2008 14:42
Jeff Shimel started taking his daughter, Alyssa, to the driving range when she was 2 years old. Fast forward about 15 years, and Alyssa is now one of the top golfers in Ohio.
Last Friday and Saturday, the Eastwood junior tied for eighth place at the Division II girls’ golf tournament at Ohio State University's Gray Course.
She took fourth in the state as a freshman but missed the cut to make the state tournament last season.
Eastwood coach Josh Jaworski said missing out on last year's tournament motivated Shimel "quite a bit."
"She realized she has the potential, and missing it was a big disappointment," he said. "She really worked hard from January through the last week just to make it back to the state tournament and play well. She played well through the season but she's a little disappointed with her performance at state. But to feel that way and still finish eighth is still pretty impressive."
Shimel shot a 80-76--156 on OSU's Gray Course, and her finish earned her second-team All-Ohio honors.
"I was glad to make it back after not making it the year before," Shimel said. "I'm glad I took eighth with the way I played. I just didn't play as well as I was capable of playing. I wanted to win, but I also wanted to play the best I was capable of playing, and what happened, happened."
Shimel said the first round started out "kind of rough."
"I didn't hit the ball the way I wanted to," she said. "I couldn't make any putts. That was the whole weekend - I just couldn't make any putts. That's been one of my biggest improvements since two years ago. It just kind of left me.
"I tried to put it behind me the next day. It was a new day. Golf changes from one day to the next. I try my hardest and hopefully the putts will start to fall. I had like four lip-outs the second day. I hit the ball a lot better, but the ball just wouldn't go in the hole."
Shimel had a school-record 36.9 average for nine holes this season, and she earned Northwest Ohio Girls Golf League Player of the Year honors for the second straight year.
"It's exciting because I've been working real hard," she said. "When stuff like that happens, it shows your hard work pays off. I look forward to playing my best. In golf, you're always playing against yourself. We have a bunch of good local golfers around here."
Shimel, who carries a 3.8 GPA, said her goal is to play golf at a Division I school. No one, certainly not Jaworski, doubts she will fall short of that goal.
"Her mechanics are second to none," Jaworski said. "She's got probably the best in the area. I've seen a lot of players swing a golf club and she's definitely up there. To play a sport like golf, such demanding mental sport, shooting the scores she does week in and week out, shows what kind of kid she is. She puts a lot of time and effort into playing well, and it shows."