A Driving Force
August 18, 2017
Nervous on the first tee, senior Misheel Sodgerel breathes deeply and slowly — a technique she learned to calm her nerves and slow her heart rate. All the way in Connecticut, she imagines as if she is hitting a normal shot on the range. She winds up and hits a long drive down the middle of the fairway to begin her two-day, 36-hole tournament. But surprisingly, this is only her second year playing golf. Sodgerel’s story began because of a special opportunity unique to CHS.
For students like Sodgerel, the no-cut policy at CHS is what helped her develop her true passion.
“I used to go to a school in North Carolina,” Sodgerel said. “I always wanted to play golf, but my [old] school had a hard cut. But, since there was the no-cut policy at [CHS], I thought I’d try it out.”
She was hooked after the first day. “I’ve been practicing daily for two to three hours. And over the past summer, I’ve been going to tournaments through the Hurricane and JPGA tour,” Sodgerel said.
With her coach’s recommendation, Sodgerel began to see a swing coach every week. She also recently hired a short game coach. With her fierce work ethic and passion for the game, she began to see the benefits of her hard work.
“She came on [the team] as a sophomore and never swung a golf club in her life,” girls’ varsity golf coach Kim Shelley said. “Now she’s a senior, and she’s unbelievable. The progress she’s made in two years is insane. Other coaches in the area and her swing coach are amazed and absolutely in awe of her.”
Yet, like many other athletes, Sodgerel has faced some hardships. But, her optimism has been a valuable aspect in elevating her game to the next level.
“I remember during a tournament over the summer, I did scaringly bad. I was upset for a while. But, I soon realized that I had an opportunity to get better and that the only direction from here was up. It motivated me to work even harder,” Sodgerel said.
While Sodgerel has a strong yearning for self-improvement, she also has a commitment to the team. Since her sophomore year, Sodgerel has risen as a role model for the rest of her team and possesses strong leadership skills.
“Offseason, she’s brought a group of girls to go and play on their own. Her leadership skills are incredible. She did it all on her own,” Shelley said. “Really, she’s pushing me. It’s great.”
Through Sodgerel’s leadership and uncanny work ethic, her lifestyle has had a ripple effect throughout the girls’ golf program. One of the affected individuals is CHS junior and fellow teammate Liz Wong.
“Even when she was not team captain, I would still listen to her because she dedicated most of her time practicing to become a better golfer,” Wong said. “She has inspired me to practice more and has shown me what true commitment is.” Sodgerel has been a valuable addition to the team as Shelley explains, “Watching her passion for the game and seeing her evolve every single year, I have so much respect for her as a human being and as a golfer.”
In the end, while Sodgerel has personal ambitions of getting better, she also hopes to impact the golf team. “I’d like to show the rest of my team that even if you haven’t had much experience playing golf, you can still get really good at it. [I want to teach them] to never lose hope in getting better,” Sodgerel said.
Both Sodgerel’s coach and teammates have all identified the same thing as her greatest strength: her love for the sport of golf. With aspirations of playing in college, she’ll continue to perfect her craft. Yet, her dedication to the team will always be present. “I hope all of us can become better golfers while growing to love the game,” Sodgeral said.