Parel shines on big stage


Vallery King

Senior Elise Parel heads back to her bag after sinking a putt during a practice round at Oakhurst Golf Course in the fall. Parel qualified for her fourth trip to the state championships this year.

Taylor Rankin, Staff Writer

Senior Elise Parel could feel the nerves creeping over her during the first few holes at the 2019 Regional Golf Championships. She had played at regions three times before, but always with her team playing alongside her. This season, she was the only qualifier.

“It’s different going individually and not having that team atmosphere,” Parel said. “It was
like something I had to accomplish on my own.”

Parel did just that. She worked to fix an issue with her putting after the first day of regionals. She started the second day with a double bogey, but regrouped quickly. She eagled the 16th hole and won her second-consecutive regional championship by five strokes.

“It was definitely nerve racking at first, but after a few holes it got better,” Parel said.

With her second regional title, Parel is playing better than she has ever played. During her senior season, she even broke the school scoring record. Now, she will participate in the State Championships on May 13 in hopes of taking home the individual title.

“All of her results this season say that she should be the favorite at State,” coach Angela Chancellor said. “I know she is my favorite.”

As a freshman, Parel helped the golf team win the state title. Parel placed 18th individually that year. As a sophomore, she moved up to 11th place. Last year, she finished sixth.

Parel credits her coaches and her teammates with her continued improvement.

“My coaches watch me practice and always tell me what I am doing wrong and how I could better improve myself, and it really does help,” Parel said.

After Parel win at the regional championship, she said she felt an overwhelming sense of relief.

“There are just so many good players on the field, so it was a good feeling and made me confident in myself,” Parel said.

Golf is a mental sport. Focus at each hole is critical and golfers cannot dwell on mistakes. That part of the game is one of Parel’s strengths.

“Elise is a mental giant,” Chancellor said. “She can process what is going on around her and make good decisions on the golf course.”

That is one reason her coaches see her succeeding in her golf career after high school. Parel signed with Houston Baptist University and visited the campus a few weeks ago. She met with her future coaches and was introduced to some of her new teammates. She cannot wait to travel the country for tournaments with them.

“Elise will have a decorated college career and has set a goal of a national championship,” Chancellor said. “I have no doubt that she will achieve all that and more.”

Parel credits her success to her faith, her family and her friends. Chancellor said she hopes the younger players have paid attention to how Parel carries herself on and off the golf course.

“If you didn’t know that she played golf, you would just think she was a kind, intelligent, charismatic friend,” Chancellor said. “There is no boasting or chest pumping with her, just results to do the talking for her.”

During an early golf trip this season, a new golfer joined the varsity group. Chancellor’s favorite part was watching how Parel took the player under her wing. She made sure she stayed calm for the competition and that she was always included in the team activities.

“Lots of kids would have just let the girl find her own way, but Elise did the opposite,” Chancellor said. “Now that girl loves golf and will likely be anchoring our team next season when Elise is gone.

“Elise is a very special talent, but also a very kind, intelligent young woman. KPARK golf is better for having her as a leader of our team.”