Since 1979, Homewood-Flossmoor’s girls golf program has finished among the state’s top three more times than it hasn’t, and that includes six state titles.
But there’s no need to remind Kendall Paris about the school’s tradition. The H-F senior has seen it firsthand.
“I always knew their reputation,” Paris said. “I’d go watch them play when I was in middle school and it was mind boggling to see how good they were. I really wanted to be a part of it.”
She’s not only a part, now she’s guiding the pack.
Paris, a full-time starter with the club since her sophomore year, aims to lead H-F in scoring for the second consecutive season.
“I started practicing a lot more over the summer and have been consistently dropping my scores,” Paris said, noting she recently carded her best score, an 81, at H-F’s home course of Coyote Run. “My individual score just wasn’t there for me to make it to state last season, but I’m hoping the extra practice will push me through.”
As a junior, Paris notched all-SouthWest Suburban honors and qualified individually for sectionals.
But with the program’s numbers dwindling over the past few seasons, Paris said the biggest mental hurdle has little to do with individual expectations. Instead, she’s more concerned with upholding the name she first saw atop scorecards as a middle-schooler.
“I definitely feel the pressure,” Paris said. “Every time I step into the tee box, I’m always so nervous because people are looking at me. You’ve got to be the superstar and carry the school name. I try not to let it get to me because I can’t, but it’s definitely tough.”
Paris believes additional stress on students, especially juniors and seniors gearing up for college, has contributed to the diminishing number of girls trying out for the team.
“I feel like it’s harder to balance school and golf than it was before,” Paris said. “It’s a lot of pressure to balance that workload.”
Paris proved she can handle it, though. The Flossmoor resident recently received an acceptance letter from the University of Iowa, and she’s garnered interest from the golf program at Elon University, a D-II school in North Carolina.
Some major decisions loom, but one thing is for certain: Paris will do her best to “uphold the H-F legacy.”
“I love the girls on our team,” Paris said. “We know we’re not going to all shoot in the 70s or 80s, but we’re working hard. I’m looking to finish the season strong.”