Seconds after she sank her last putt for an 83 Saturday at the state tournament in Decatur, Leia Atas said she started cataloging all of her memories as a four-year girls golfer at Maine South.
Atas was a four-time qualifier for the Class AA state tournament. As a sophomore and senior, she helped the Hawks make the trip to state as a team. Maine South won three regional titles during her career and its first sectional championship this fall.
Since the program’s inception in 2001, Atas has been a featured player for the best stretch in the Hawks’ brief history. Meg Nakamura, a 2000 graduate, also was a four-year qualifier for state, but she competed as an individual.
“Reflecting on everything is crazy,” Atas said. “It’s been a fun and amazing experience, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything else. Playing golf at Maine South easily has been the highlight in high school.”
In the two-round state tournament at Hickory Point Golf Club, Atas shot 84-83 for a 23-over 167 to tie for 46th. The Hawks finished ninth at 122 over (342-356—698) Saturday. The team also placed ninth in 2012.
It wasn’t Atas’ best showing after tying for 12th a year ago. Although she drove the ball well off the tee Friday and Saturday, she said she struggled with her irons and putting. She didn’t make a birdie over 36 holes and came up short in her goal of earning all-state honors, which are awarded to golfers in the top 10.
“None of my putts were falling, but there’s nothing I can do about that now,” she said. “My ultimate dream was to make all-state my senior year, but I have no regrets.”
Atas plans to continue her golf career at Illinois State. She said she verbally committed to the Redbirds on Monday.
Maine South coach Jeff Hamann said “no words can truly describe what she’s meant to the program.”
“She led the charge of raising the bar for our program,” Hamann said. “We feel very fortunate to have had her represent our school and community.”