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Happy anniversary! North makes most of first year with Rural golf

By RICK PETERSON

TopSports.news

Tuesday marked Aliyah North's one-year anniversary in high school golf and the Washburn Rural senior gave herself and the Junior Blues a gift to mark the occasion.

After playing primarily softball and volleyball growing up, North took up golf last fall as a junior and made her competitive debut as a member of the Junior Blues' split squad (second six) in the Washburn Rural Invitational last September at Wamego Country Club.

E yXEYxXMAAH 5pAliyah North

And although her score of 105 wasn't anything to send ripples through the golfing community, North knew right away that she had made the right decision.

"I kind of just saw my brother and dad playing a lot and I figured I'd give it a shot,'' North said. "I wasn't planning on playing my junior year, but after getting a lesson from Josh (Nahm, a teaching pro), he convinced me it would be good to join the team my junior year and I'm so extremely glad that I did.

"I was pretty nervous (for the first meet) and it was really rainy and windy that day, so it was a rough one to start off on, but after the first couple of holes I kind of settled in. I loved it.''

North was back in Wamego on Tuesday and was a shining example of how much difference a year, and a lot of hard work, can make, shooting a team-low 82 (tie for sixth overall) to pace the Junior Blues to the team championship by a 15-stroke margin over two-time defending Class 6A champion Shawnee Mission East.

E yTv OXEAgP72uWashburn Rural senior Aliyah North marked her one-year anniversary in high school golf with a tie for sixth in Tuesday's Washburn Rural Invitational. [Photo by Rick Peterson/TSN]

Even though she was unable to crack Washburn Rural's top six in 2020 she continued to make progress, maybe even more than she was expecing.

"I didn't think that I'd be to the point where I am right now, but I could definitely see improvement,'' North said.

That steady improvement translated into a dramatic rise after a golf-filled summer.

"That was pretty much all I did,'' she said. "I'm surprised, but I've also worked so hard that I'm ready for so much more. I really want to see what I can do through the rest of the season and then later on, too.''

Washburn Rural coach Jared Goehring, who has coached multiple boys and girls state championship teams, said he's never had a player that's made the jump North has in just a year's time.

"The hard work that she's put in just speaks volumes to her character,'' Goehring said. "She really made a commitment to this a year ago and her numbers speak for themselves, going from 105 to 82 today. That's just a phenomenal improvement and I couldn't be more happy for her.''

Goehring does have one regret, that he didn't have North for all four years of her prep career, but he's thankful she eventually found her way to the sport and his team.

"She's been great and we're definitely going to enjoy these last few months with her,'' Goehring said.

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