By Susan Jenior
Maddie Kost, a senior at Kent Roosevelt, realizes how important golf has been.
“The experiences have been awesome,” said Kost. “My senior year has made me realize how fast everything goes. I’m embracing everything, every match and every tournament.
“We were undefeated in matches this season,” Kost added. “It has gone super fast, but making it to states is a nice way to end things.”
At the Brookledge Division I District, Kost tried not to look at the scoreboard the whole time.
“I didn’t know where I stood, but comparing myself to last year, I knew I was better,” Kost said. “I was thinking I was going to make it, but you never know what is going on with everyone else’s game.”
Kost’s journey to the state tournament wasn’t easy at the district level. She was in a three-way tie for the final two spots at the conclusion of 18 holes and earned the fourth spot.
“It was a memorable playoff,” said Kost. “The scores show how talented the golfers are.”
Kost first started playing golf with her dad, tagging along with him for fun when he went to the driving range.
“I just wanted to have a good time,” said Kost, who tees off on the 10th hole in the Division I state championship on the Ohio State University Gray Course at 10:50 a.m. on Friday.
Then her dad asked if she wanted to hit a golf ball.
“We played with each other until I needed more competition,” said Kost. She joined the Little Rider program. It helped me progress. I liked the competition and practicing and got better every time I was out there.”
The Little Riders is a program for youth girls golfers at Kent City Schools. They meet every Sunday in the summer under the guidance of high school girls golf head coach Bryan Harvey and assistant coach Larry Picicco.
“It’s very good,” said Kost. “My team is my family and I love the girls. I’ve known the girls on the team before my freshman year. I’ve just grown up with them and there are a lot of good memories.”
Kost is a tri-sport athlete, also competing in swimming and track, but her main focus is on golf.
She has played the Ohio State University Scarlet Golf Course, site of the Division I boys state tournament this weekend, but has never played the Gray, the 18-hole layout for the girls Division I state competition.
“I’m just getting more experience and it really helps in the end,” said Kost. “Just making sure my swing is dialed in.”
Kost did miss a year at Kent Roosevelt when she switched school, but she came back and is really happy she did.
“I love golf and my team even more,” said Kost.
She is looking forward to possibly playing golf in college and would like to pursue a career in the golf industry.
“We have such a good system here with coaches Harvey and Picicco,” said Kost. “Our coach manages Fairways at Twin Lake so we have access to the course. Playing for another school made me realize the family aspect we have here that is missing at other schools.”
Kost counts her dad as her biggest supporter. Steven Kost introduced her to golf.
“My parents drive all over, help me register for summer tournaments and travel throughout the summer.
“My parents are very supportive, very patient,” said Kost. “I appreciate my family, my mom (Kimberly) and brother (Casey) for everything they have done and coming to watch me.”
Her favorite tournament was the Optimist International in Florida that she qualified for last summer.
“Some of the best girls across the world,” said Kost. “It was good to go and have a good time. My family made it like a vacation.”
This year, her low round was at Old Avalon a 68. She also enjoyed the Suburban League tournaments.
She practices every day. No days off.
“I try not to overdo things and swing with confidence,” said Kost. “I expect a lot of myself and my goal is always to shoot under par or to go as low as I can possibly go.”
Education is important. Kost is in visual media, joining the computer science club, in the engineering academy advance classes, advanced math and coding.
Kost is looking forward to a great experience at the state tournament.
“Some of my team is going down,” said Kost. “They were super sweet at the end of the district playoff. I am looking forward to a fun and great experience at the state tournament and I am super happy to have advanced.”