By Aylin Tepe ’22 and Madeline Cournoyer ’23
Edited by Coach Mike Hall
The 2021-22 school year saw the formation of the Lake Forest Academy varsity girls golf team. The inaugural team consisted of a total of nine girls and was anchored by captains Aylin Tepe ’22 and Madeline Cournoyer ’23.
Not knowing what to fully expect in terms of how many players we would have and who our coach would be, we began the venture a little nervous. The season began as the nine of us hit the driving range at Lake Bluff Golf Course in early August 2021, each one of us coming from a different golf background, but sharing the same interest in being part of a girls golf team. Within the first hour on the driving range, we knew we had something special. By the end of preseason, it was hard to tell that we had only known each other for one week. We strived to have a close-knit team that not only worked together to win, we did just that without a problem, but to also develop a sense of support for each other.
Our first match of the season was against Chicago Lab at Jackson Park Golf Course where we had a nice showing and defeated a well-coached team that had two really good golfers. We were so nervous as a group that day. We had never had the opportunity to represent LFA as a team and we were playing a team that had an established history of excellence in the ISL. Before the day was over, we knew the work we had put in was paying off. Ringing the bell when we arrived back at LFA that night will be a memory none of us will forget and was a physical validation that having an LFA girls golf team was worthwhile.
A week and a half later we played Regina’s JV team at our home course at Lake Bluff for our second match and once again came away with a victory. On September 20, we played in the ISL Conference Tournament and came in second place overall, placing three girls on the All-Tournament Team. Three days later we were told that we were going to be competing in the Warren Invite at Bittersweet Golf Course that Saturday against the varsity teams from Warren, Lake Forest High School, Carmel, and Dundee Crown. We won the entire tournament and secured a match against every one of those schools for the 2022 season further expanding our schedule. To say the team was excited doesn’t begin to describe how proud we were of our accomplishments all season. Sadly, before we knew it, senior night rolled around and we played Latin for our final match of the season. LFA pulled away with our final win.
As the year was coming to an end, what we became most proud of is the dynamic that exists within our team. Some days our best player may not be playing their best. Our team chemistry always seemed to take over and we lifted each other up to fill in the voids. It is hard to explain how much we value each other and how much we support each other on the course and in the classroom. While it was sad to see a season come to an end, we left hungrier than ever to have another impressive season in 2022. We all shared the feeling of great pride knowing that we were the first LFA girls golf team and that we made an impact on the school as well as each other.
Not only did the team finish with a winning season, but the friendships that were made will last for years to come. Our team also has a coach that cares about our personal development and works to provide helpful insights that allow us to become stronger golf players. The LFA girls golf team will certainly move forward as another terrific athletic opportunity for students to pursue. Team members include Aylin Tepe ’22, Madeline Cournoyer ’23, Diana Hofmann ’24, Ela Jain ’24, Alajandra Rohde ’24, Bela Bock ’25, Oliva Rogalski ’25, Ysa Sanchez ’25, and Almira Tepe ’25.