BY DEAN HOCKNEY
GREENTOWN, Ind. – Eastern High School Athletic Director Brad Wilson has orchestrated dozens of college signing ceremonies for Comet student-athletes. But in all of his time, he has never witnessed the collegiate signing of a Lady Comet golfer. But that all changed on May 18 when Kaylee Kingseed signed to play collegiate golf at the University of St. Francis in Fort Wayne.
“This is outstanding and we are very proud of her,” said Wilson. “This is a special time for her and the team. As Coach Hamilton can attest, she has worked hard for this and has proven she can play at the next level. I am just very proud of what she has accomplished.”
Comet girls golf coach Mike Hamilton said this is a very proud day for Kingseed and the entire golf program at Eastern.
“I am also proud of Kaylee; she has put in a lot of work in her golf program,” he said. “She is at the top of the Eastern golf list for a reason, and one of those is because she is the first to sign to play in a college golf program. She is my hero. She will stand out as number one in my book.”
Kingseed said she chose St. Francis for several reasons, including its proximity to Greentown, its nursing program, and the friendliness of the golf team.
“It is a small school and I really wanted to play golf while still being able to concentrate on my studies,” she said. “I visited, and when I left I thought it was an amazing place. It is just close enough that I can get home when I need to. But I am really nervous about taking this next step. But I am excited to make that step.”
Kingseed holds the Lady Comets nine-hole (34) and 18-hole (76) school records, and was an IHSAA regional qualifier her senior year after posting an 88 in the sectionals. She fired the 76 to finish fourth in the 2011 Mid-Indiana Conference meet held at the American Legion Golf Course in Kokomo. But she remembers a day when records were not even a dream.
“My game was horrible when I started, shooting in the 60s and 70s for nine holes,” she said with a laugh. “Then Mike Abbott became my swing coach, and it has really helped. I didn’t start playing until the summer before my freshman year, and I just really like being outdoors – that is the best thing about golf.”
“She was kind of lost as a freshman – a little green on the course,” said Hamilton. “But she wanted to become a golfer and worked very hard to get where she is today. And now, in a few days, she will graduate from Eastern and will start towards her college degree – and that is what is important.”
Kingseed said she will have to work on her short game if she wants to see success for the Lady Cougars, while the strong part of her game is putting.
“And I am pretty good off the tee,” she admitted. “But the short game is really weak. Off the tee and putting are my strongest areas and that is where I have the most fun.”
Wilson said St. Francis coach Michelle Smith was fortunate to recruit a student-athlete the caliber as Kingseed.
“I think she is an excellent individual and has a great personality,” said Wilson. “She has what it takes to go on to the next level and succeed. We will miss her in the Eastern hallways.”
And as the hallways of Eastern bid adieu to Kingseed, the campus of St. Francis will open its arms to the best Lady Comet golfer of all time.