The course is the calling for NASH senior Oliva Schenk, and she wasted no time this fall making sure that her clubs will not go into storage next year at college.
Schenk has always been involved in athletics, but golf has long been the standout.
“I did ballet when I was little, then switched to gymnastics, which I did competitively for eight years,” Schenk said. “I had to quit due to injuries, and in middle school, that’s when I truly fell into love with golf.”
Since she was in elementary school, Schenk has wanted to play sports in high school, but until golf, one never truly stood out. Though her family is athletic, her parents being multi-sport athletes, they never had to push Olivia to golf—it was a natural progression.
“My whole family plays golf, but I don’t think that pushed me to play,” she said. “I fell in love with the sport on my own, and they were always my biggest fans and supported my decision to play in college.”
Schenk credits her mother for introducing the sport to her, always taking her to the course on the weekends when she was younger.
As much as she loves the game, golf can be a frustrating sport, rife with disappointments and temptations to give up.
“In the game of golf, there are always setbacks. It is such a humbling and challenging sport,” Schenk said. “I think one of my greatest setbacks was when I broke my wrist during my junior year. It happened at such a pivotal point in my career and created more stress in my mind about recruiting and scholarships that were right around the corner.”
Despite her talent on the course, Schenk still has pre-match rituals to get the jitters out.
“I can’t golf without high socks,” she said. “My main ritual, though, is calling my mom before each match to talk my nerves out and remind me why I play the game. She has taught me everything I know about the game of golf, and I’m so lucky to have an amazing coach and an even better mom.”
When college application season arrived, Schenk knew she wanted to continue playing golf in college but didn’t know where. It was important to her and her family that she received a scholarship to play. Fortunately, many schools were interested in her abilities and made offers. Ultimately, she chose York College of Pennsylvania.
“I knew the right choice was going to York,” Schenk said. “Along with having a strong golf program, it’s known for its nursing program, which is the career I want to pursue. The school and the opportunities were too perfect to pass up.”
As much as she will miss her North Allegheny teammates and coaches, Schenk said she is eager to meet her new team and create a new bond. She has already met her future coaches at York and is ready to learn from them.
But above all, Schenk is eager to share her enthusiasm with younger athletes who may doubt their future prospects.
“Never count yourself out for anything,” she said. “It doesn’t matter if you have played that sport your whole life or for a couple of months. If you’re truly passionate about it, you will succeed.”