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Opal Polk to help augment Trine women's golf program

ROLLING THUNDER: Peru graduate Opal Polk (C) had already committed herself to Trine University before opting to continue her golfing career as part of the Thunder women’s golf program in the 2018-19 school year. With Polk on her decision day were (L to R) Peru golf assistant coach JJ Burns, Peru golf head coach Clint Mathews, mother Deidre, Father Patrick and brother Pete.

BY TRENT SCOTT - tscott@perutribune.com

Opal Polk was already on the way to Trine University, having decided to attend the school midway through her senior year, when she got a call about possibly doing a bit more once on campus.

The Peru graduate will make the move to the Angola-based campus with her golf clubs in tow after opting to continue her golfing days as part of the Thunder women’s golf program in the 2018-19 school year.

Polk said the campus in the northeast corner of the state made her feel welcome.

“It has a small school atmosphere and with my major, the small classes are perfect,” Polk said. “I had decided to go to Trine before they had called about playing golf and after talking with the coach, it was a no-brainer. “I love the game and Trine itself feels like home.”

Polk added her decision to attend Trine was based around its engineering program and already had an idea of her future plans in mind.

“I’m going to major in mechanical engineering and most likely minor in mathematics,” Polk said. “I’m hoping to get a job at Ford within on one of their design teams to help design sports cars.”

The Thunder finished seventh in the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletics Association Championships last season and would be down to six members after three graduated this spring.

Polk said several changes around home course Zollner GC, including changes to the clubhouse and a new coach this past season, made for an exciting time to join the team.

“(Trine) has a small women’s golf program with similar numbers to what we have at Peru,” Polk noted. “That’s perfect for me.

“College golf has top-six playing and it sounded like I have an opportunity to play in that group. They upgraded their pro shop, they hired a new coach (Noah Warren) who’s been the pro out there at Zollner for 11 years and he knows what he’s doing, so I’m excited to play.”

Peru golf coach Clint Mathews said Polk mulled over the decision for a while but eventually decided to continue marching on the links.

“It was something that just popped up,” Mathews said. “Trine has a new coach up there, who called Opal to see if she was interested in golfing up there.

“Trine is looking to help build the program up, noting that over half the students that attend the university are student-athletes. She thought about it for a long time as she’s going into engineering and getting the balance between golfing and studying was going to be important but she met and talked with the coach and is looking forward to the opportunity.”

Mathews added Polk was the kind of player the team and coaching staff would enjoy having on the squad.

“Opal got better every year she played,” Matthews said. “That was stressed to the coach during our conversation.

“She didn’t think initially that the numbers she had at the end of her senior year were good enough to play collegiately but her work ethic is something that will allow her to get better. She broke 50 for the first time over nine holes during the sectional and we expect her to not only to continue to improve but to add something to Trine’s program.”

While the engineering schedule would be a significant change, Polk said she was ready to take on the challenge and was very eager to get started at Trine in the fall.

“Not having overloads of classes every day is going to be different,” Polk said. “There are two days where I only have one class and those are right before practice.

“The workload is also going to be a big change. Time-management is also going to be a big deal as, during senior year, that slipped a little bit but I feel once I get up to Trine I can kick it back into gear.

“I’ll miss some of the teachers at Peru, as well as friends I’ve made from work and from school,” Polk added. “I’m so excited to go, though, and you can’t get me up there quick enough.”