Golf: Neuqua Valley’s Jessica Yuen yearns for another state championship

Benet: Behind new coach Michael Bremner, the Redwings will rely on state qualifier Isabella Abdullah and sectional qualifier Gretchen Schramko.

Metea Valley: Led by state qualifiers Katelyn Kline and Niquole Mangal, the Mustangs are hoping to make a deep run as a team.

Naperville Central: The Redwings welcome back Riya Anand, Lydia DeMoss, Stephanie Robinson and Kate Ryan as they look to return to prominence.

Naperville North: The Huskies finished seventh in the state last year, but graduation robbed them of their top four players. Juniors Maddie Krejci and Jaycie Waite are back.

Neuqua Valley: Defending state champion Jessica Yuen is back for her junior year, with her sights set on back-to-back titles.

Waubonsie Valley: Illinois-bound Bing Singhsumalee returns for one last shot at a state title after falling a stroke short last year. The Warriors hope to reach state as a team.

Most times, when somebody wins a state championship, it can be easy to rest on your laurels and keep things status quo.

But that’s not the way Neuqua Valley junior Jessica Yuen approached her offseason after winning the Class AA individual goal title.

She underwent numerous swing changes, four in all since the spring, and is still searching for her comfort level as her attempt to repeat as state champion begins.

“What prompted it was wanting to get more distance and accuracy,” Yuen said. “I’m finally dialed down to my swing. I’m trying to get back to last year and play a little better and gain some strength. It was kind of an up-and-down summer, but that’s OK.”

One major thing that happened when she topped her friend, Waubonsie Valley senior Bing Singhsumalee, and Loyola’s Isabelle Kane by four strokes for the state championship. She went from Jessica Yuen to state champion Jessica Yuen in one October afternoon.

“I don’t think she gets too caught up in it, but we’ll have to see,” Neuqua coach John Keller said. “Everybody else is going to know. I don’t know that it’s going to be too much of an issue. It will be interesting. I’ve never had anybody that was a state champ. That is a little different.”

Yuen is even-keeled on the course, whether she’s winning a state title or falling a stroke short of the crown, like she did her freshman year in a rain-shortened tournament. But even she admits to some nerves.

“There’s always that thought that I’m the state champion,” Yuen said. “It’s a lot of pressure on me. I want to make colleges see me. Now that I’m struggling a little bit, it’s stressful. I try not to think about it too much. Pressure is always there no matter what because golf is so stressful. For high school, I’m just going to have fun again, just like last year.”

Keller admits that if Yuen’s struggles stretch deep into September, there may be some cause for alarm. But everything he’s seen from her in her time as a Wildcat tells him he doesn’t have to worry.

“She’s so good normally,” Keller said. “Even when she’s not, she still puts up good scores. I guess if she’s still feeling uncomfortable a month from now, that’s when you get concerned. She’ll put in the time and effort to figure it out. She might just be a touch off.”

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Benet: Behind new coach Michael Bremner, the Redwings will rely on state qualifier Isabella Abdullah and sectional qualifier Gretchen Schramko.

Metea Valley: Led by state qualifiers Katelyn Kline and Niquole Mangal, the Mustangs are hoping to make a deep run as a team.

Naperville Central: The Redwings welcome back Riya Anand, Lydia DeMoss, Stephanie Robinson and Kate Ryan as they look to return to prominence.

Naperville North: The Huskies finished seventh in the state last year, but graduation robbed them of their top four players. Juniors Maddie Krejci and Jaycie Waite are back.

Neuqua Valley: Defending state champion Jessica Yuen is back for her junior year, with her sights set on back-to-back titles.

Waubonsie Valley: Illinois-bound Bing Singhsumalee returns for one last shot at a state title after falling a stroke short last year. The Warriors hope to reach state as a team.

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