The student news publication of Libertyville High School

Drops of Ink

The student news publication of Libertyville High School

Drops of Ink

The student news publication of Libertyville High School

Drops of Ink

Letter to the reader 2024
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Mikaelian shot her way into the record books

Photo: Greg Pedersen
During a match this season, Mikaelian attempts a shot on the fairway.

After wrapping up her fourth and final season as a varsity golfer, senior Simone Mikaelian ended her high school career as the most decorated female golfer in Libertyville history.

Mikaelian has a long list of impressive feats spanning over her four historic years at LHS. Along with being a state qualifier in 2014 and 2015, she also holds school records for the lowest season score average and the lowest 18-hole individual score.

She also won a regional medal three times and won a North Suburban Conference medal on two occasions. During her four years on varsity, Libertyville won the North Suburban Conference three times and won their regional three times.  

Mikaelian’s passion for golf started when she was in middle school. “My dad sparked my interest for golf. He always took me with him whenever he would go and eventually I began to play myself,” Mikaelian said in an email interview.

As she began to learn to golf, everyone started to see the potential she had to become a dominant player on the course. From the time she was in middle school, girls varsity head coach Greg Pedersen anticipated her arrival at LHS.

“When Simone was in 6th grade, I knew she’d be dominant.  When she was in middle school, my current varsity team kept telling me, ‘Wait til you get Simone on your team.  She’s amazing.’  So, we knew something good was coming up the pipeline.  At the time we were already improving scores and getting out more athletes to golf, so she joined our team as a freshman at a time when the program was already moving in a good direction. Simone pushed us to new heights,” Coach Pederson said in an email interview.

Ever since her dad introduced her to the game, she has outperformed her competition en route to becoming an elite golfer. The hard work paid off immediately as Mikaelian made the varsity team as a freshman.

“My determination is what I credit most to my success. Over the years, I’ve worked extremely hard and that is the only thing that really got me to the point I reached throughout my career,” Mikaelian commented.

Mikaelian’s extraordinary year-round work ethic resulted in a 37.8 nine-hole average this season, which is the the best in school history.

Simone is dedicated to the game of golf in time and spirit.  We’ve had athletes before who practiced a lot, but no one has shown the level of commitment to improvement quite like Simone,” commented Coach Pedersen.

As she has an  intensive work ethic, Mikaelian is able to stay focused on the course and avoids getting hurt by the mental aspect of golf. Being able to take one shot at a time and not overthink any particular shot is essential to success on the golf course.

“I stay focused by reminding myself that I am playing to help my team out. I like the pressure because it pushed me to stay focused the whole round. The only way I recover from making a mistake is to make sure I make up for it on the rest of the holes left in my round,” stated Mikaelian.

During her four years at LHS, the girls golf team thrived as a unit, collecting multiple accolades. Mikaelian not only was successful as an individual, but she was also successful in leading the team to many victories and strong performances.

“I think this shows the consistent hard work our team has put in all four years. For me, it makes me feel accomplished for all of the time I have put in. It’s even more special that we won as a team also,” Mikaelian said. “Winning it as a team is more rewarding to me compared to winning individually. It shows how we all play a huge role on the team because four out of six of our scores count. However, winning individually is also very special to me.”  

With Mikaelian being on varsity for four seasons, it allowed her to grow and thrive in a leadership role. “I think I was able to be a leader because I had a great bond with my teammates over the years. Our team has had great chemistry over the years with different players and that makes leadership a lot easier,” commented Mikaelian.

Coach Pedersen said, “I’ve seen plenty of girls who have been ‘best golfer on the team’ who were not leaders in any way… For four years I had the feeling that Simone was far more concerned with the team’s performance than she was with her own.  Her teammates fed off that vibe and we have enjoyed four years of focused effort on winning as a team, which is not always a given when it comes to high school golf teams… Just because she’s really, really good doesn’t mean that she isn’t approachable and fun. She always fit right in.”

This natural leadership ability was apparent from the start and her teammates noticed it right away.

“She rose above the pack because of her skill, but more importantly how she handled her skill. She did not make people feel bad if they did not score as well as her. She became a leader through the type of teammate she was. You could always go to her if you needed some advice or something to cheer you up,” said fellow senior and teammate Sydney Spracklen, during an email interview.    

Even after all the success and fun Mikaelian had golfing in high school, she does not plan on golfing competitively in college because she plans on attending a larger school such as Indiana University or the University of Illinois.

Over her four years on the golf team, Mikaelian made many lasting memories, but one that reigns over the rest was “qualifying for state as a team my junior year. I will remember this moment my whole life,” Mikaelian said.

Mikaelian takes a short chip shot onto the green.
Photo: Greg Petersen
Mikaelian takes a short chip shot onto the green.
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The student news publication of Libertyville High School
Mikaelian shot her way into the record books