The Northview girls golf program has perennially been one of the state's best over the past several years, qualifying for the Indiana High School State Golf Tourney in three of the past four seasons. Key members of those teams, Jennifer Dragan and Amy Thiemann have both moved on to college golf. Dragan attends the University of Southern Indiana and Thiemann originally signed at IUPUI.
You can now add senior Brittney Cheek to the list after a distinguished Northview career.
On Tuesday afternoon, Cheek signed a letter-of-intent to play golf for Rend Lake College in Illinois. The Warriors, a junior college program, is one of the nation's best programs after trips to the national tournament in 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2004. The Warriors won the Region XXIV Tournament in 1999, 2000, 2003 and 2004.
Cheek placed 63rd in the state tournament this season after winning a sectional title. As a junior in 2003, Cheek was 16th in the state after shooting a two round total of 166. Her experience in the pressure packed state tourney is something that Cheek feels will help her immediately in her jump to the collegiate level.
"I think playing in the state tournament under pressure will help and the fact I've played a lot of different courses," commented Cheek.
Cheek, who has an interest in a nursing degree, chose Rend Lake over USI. "I really like the coach (at Rend Lake) and they have a really nice campus and a nice golf course."
But the transition from a great high school team to one of the nation's best junior college teams is one that Cheek believes will take some work to make smoothly. "I think I'm going to need some work on the mental aspect of my game," the senior mentioned. "I need some work on my short game as well."
Northview coach Teresa Akers believes that Cheek has a lot to add to the Rend Lake program next season. "Brittney is very flexible and that makes her very valuable. She can really fit in anywhere and she showed that when she stepped in for Amy (Thiemann) in regionals when Amy was hurt and then shot the team's best score."
While Cheek has a lot of big tournament experience, Rend Lake coach Cindy Corn sees even more potential for the high school senior.
"I expect a lot for Brittney," said Corn. "We've lost several players and I think Brittney can step right in for us and get a lot of playing time."
Corn believes that Cheek's game is more suited to playing college courses compared to many other prep athletes.
"I've looked at Brittney's swing. Distance shouldn't be any problem for her," noted Corn. "A lot of high school players have trouble making the jump to longer courses."
One of the biggest changes will be playing tournament style golf in each match rather than just nine hole matches in high school.
"The biggest difference for high school girls is playing 18 holes for three days in a row. Kids aren't really used to that."
Despite losing a handful of players from last season's team that placed fifth in the country, Rend Lake has high hopes once more for this year's squad. The Warriors return Third Team All-American Sarita Risseeuw to a team that is a preseason top-five team in the junior college ranks after finishing fifth in last year's national championship tourney.
"The kids on campus were really happy for us and excited, but we were a little disappointed. We thought we could finish a little higher," said coach Corn.
With the Warriors, Cheek will get an opportunity for top notch competition along with an exciting travel opportunity. "We're working on a trip to play some of the community colleges in Arizona and Texas," mentioned Corn. "We play some Division I schools from Indiana like Ball State and we're pretty excited about playing against Kentucky this year."
Cheek will begin her college golf career in the Fall of 2005 after graduating from Northview this Spring.
"Rend Lake is getting not only a great golfer, but a great person as well. I think they'll really enjoy (Brittney)," commented coach Akers.