COLUMN: Appreciate greatness as it happens | Sports


CARMEL – There were a lot of ideas about what this column was supposed to look like.

I knew on my way to Carmel this weekend that I was going to write two stories: one centered on the results of the state girls golf meet, and a “sidebar,” as we call it. in business, on Cybil Stillson from NorthWood.

I wasn’t sure which route I was going to take with the sidebar, however. All season long, I thought it would be cool to follow Stillson for a whole game and document what it was like to watch her play golf. One of the hardest things about this job when it comes to covering golf in high school is that we don’t really see a lot of action. We can see some of it, but it’s impossible for us to see every photo of every athlete on every team that we focus on at a particular event.

Since this was Stillson’s last round as a high school golfer, I felt like this would be the perfect time to do this story (I really didn’t have another chance after that, being given that his high school career was coming to an end). So, for nearly eight hours on Saturday – including a two hour and 19 minute rain delay – I watched Cybil Stillson play the last trick of his high school career. She shot a 76, which tied her for 11th overall when combined with her first-round 77 on Friday.

Was this Stillson’s best performance? No. It was obviously last week when she broke a state tournament record with a 62 to win the regional. But she still pulled off some amazing golf shots that ordinary people like you and I dream of hitting.

She buried a putt over 30 feet for a birdie at hole 13, barely 10 minutes before heavy rain delayed her turn for an extended period. She hit several short chips a few yards from the hole to save par. The best shot of the day for her, however, may have been at hole 7, which was her 16th of the day since NorthWood started on the back nine.

At a rough angle in the rough, near a few trees, and about 100 yards from the pin, Stillson struck an iron blow within 12 feet of the hole. She missed the ensuing birdie putt, but made a par when a bogey seemed inevitable after her second stroke.

She then played her last hole of her prep career perfectly – until the end. On the 378-yard par 4 ninth hole of the Prairie View Golf Course, Stillson hit about 150 yards from the hole. She then played a perfect iron shot, placing the ball within 10 feet of the hole to create a birdie opportunity.

The scenario seemed almost too good to be true: arguably the greatest high school golfer in Elkhart County history, male or female, was about to birdie on the last hole of his career and come out with it. style.

The birdie putt was narrowly missed, however.

And then the putt by circled.

Stillson hit the bogey putt.

She had made three 10-foot putts on the last hole of her career.

One of the few to show emotion on the course, all Stillson could do was smile, laugh a little and look up at the sky as he stepped off the green. She teased as she tossed the ball into the nearby pond, but instead returned it to her trainer, Adam Yoder.

“It was Cybil’s – which is very stoic – way of showing his emotions,” Yoder said.

Stillson admitted that she couldn’t think of a time when she would have put in three hits like this.

“I can’t remember when I stepped up and missed one,” Stillson said. “Honestly, I was just impressed that I missed that putt.”

Stillson wasn’t overly emotional as he stepped off the course for the last time, heading to the official scorer’s table and finalizing his scorecard. Emotions then came after she hugged her parents, Angie and Jeff, Yoder and teammate Bre Goss.

Yoder started to bring tears to his eyes as he shared what Stillson meant to him as a person.

“Cyb is a friend,” Yoder said. “She saw me through a career change. She saw me while raising my children. So, it’s going to be hard to see her go.

An hour after finishing her high school playing career, Stillson received another accolade: the IHSAA Mental Attitude Award. A scholarship of $ 1000 is awarded to NorthWood on his behalf because of this. She joins another recent female NorthWood athlete, Maddy Payne (2020 women’s basketball), to receive the prestigious honor.

“It’s awesome,” Stillson said of getting the award. “I knew my coach and my athletic director appointed me, but honestly, I wasn’t really expecting it. So yes, it was a nice surprise. I’m excited. … Maddy Payne is obviously one of the best athletes that has been to NorthWood, so it’s really cool to kind of get recognized with her. It’s really cool to share that with her and get this award.

This is my fourth fall covering sports for Goshen’s news, which means I got to watch Stillson’s entire career. For my money, there hasn’t been a better athlete in a specific sport that I have covered during this time than Stillson. Sure, there are a lot of great multisport athletes who have done great things in a sport (see: Goshen’s Brynn Shoup-Hill in basketball), but Stillson’s sustained excellence on the golf course is unmatched. .

She has made national finals all four seasons, finishing 17th or better on all four occasions. She set several school records for a program that has been one of the best in the state over the past decade and has seen many fantastic players go by. And, of course, she had the aforementioned state record performance at the regional last week.

So really, this column is about appreciating greatness. Cybil Stillson has been great for NorthWood during her four-year playing career, both on and off the course. This was proven with his victory at the Mental Attitude Award and receiving an All-State selection for his game in the process. She was one of the best high school girls to buy a set of golf clubs in the history of Elkhart County, and we appreciate her for it.

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