Amelie Koecher already has made some history as the first Evanston female golfer to reach the sectional level of the Illinois High School Association state tournament series more than once.
The ETHS senior added to her already impressive resume Wednesday at the Central Suburban League South division meet.
Koecher earned a rare top 10 finish in the individual competition, firing an 82 to claim a tie for ninth place with Grace Lieber of New Trier and Jessica Hoffman of Maine South at Wilmette Golf Club.
Koecher’s effort marked the best for a Wildkit girl at the league meet since Liz Jolie placed 11th back in 2014. Her next challenge? To become the first player in the program to reach the IHSA state finals.
The path to the state finals starts Sept. 29 for Koecher and her teammates at the Class 2A New Trier Regional tournament at Winnetka Golf Course. The sectional is set for Oct. 3 at Heritage Oaks Golf Course in Northbrook, and Hickory Point Golf Course in Decatur will host the two-day state finals Oct. 7-8.
“That top 10 finish [at the CSL South meet] was something. We don’t do that every year,” said ETHS head coach Karilyn Joyce. “Amelie is definitely a potential state qualifier, and she was last year too.
“She’s a good player when she doesn’t put pressure on herself. It’s all mental and it has nothing to do with her [shot-making] game. She has a very good work ethic, and she’s very focused.”
Evanston also counted a 53-48-101 by sophomore Mari Frigo, a 49-54-103 by senior Kylie Kimmel and a 58-51-109 by sophomore Lili Proctor. Also competing for the Wildkits were freshman Venisha Vig (59-55-114) and senior Audrey Norris (60-59-119).
Glenbrook North ruled the CSL South team standings with a score of 300, followed by New Trier (318), Glenbrook South (321) and Maine South (343). Evanston tied Niles West for the fifth spot at 395, but the Wildkits won the regular season dual meet between the two schools and finished fifth overall.
Koecher just missed the first hole-in-one of her career on the links and totaled two birdies – on the No. 1 and No. 16 holes – on her way to a final score of 40-42-82 on a sunny and somewhat breezy afternoon in Wilmette.
“I’m kinda shocked [to earn a top 10 medal],” she said. “I was just hoping to be in the top 20 and maybe shoot under 80. I really had no clue where I was going to place today.”
Koecher came within a couple of inches of an ace – “I could have blown it in” – on the par 3 16th but blamed an inability to chip well in medium range of each hole for preventing her from climbing higher in the final individual standings.
“I shot a 77 the last time I was here, so I know I can shoot better,” Koecher said. “I had a lot of bogeys today because I had a lot of unnecessarily missed putts, and not-close chips. I’m not too happy with the way I played. We played from the green tees today and between 80 and 50 yards [from each hole] was an awkward distance for me. I really struggled to get on the greens in two [shots].
“I am more consistent this year and I’ve taken away most of the ‘blowup’ holes. I’ve done a good job of eliminating those double bogeys. I’ll definitely work more on my chip shots now, because if I can fix that, I can give myself more opportunities for birdies and that’s really important.”
“I thought all of the girls shot well today,” Joyce said. “I think Kylie Kimmel is our most improved golfer up to this point. She’s been very consistent and nothing seems to frustrate her out there.”