There are hundreds of high school athletes in the Kansas City Area, and we here at kcyoungguns do not think that they are given the proper coverage. So, we’ve decided to interview one outstanding local athlete a week in what we will call the Chatting with… segment. We’re looking for the KC Young Guns that are making a difference in their respective sports.
Baile Winslow won her first tournament at 15. She hasn't looked back since.
This week, we’re here with Baile Winslow, the Kansas City Star’s girls golfer of the year and the Class 5A State Champion. The St. Thomas Aquinas golfer beat out the competition at State by 4 strokes and helped Aquinas win its fifth straight 5A State Championship in a row—as a junior. She plans to start her own blog, called bwinslowgolf13.wordpress.com, which will highlight her experience with golf.
KCyoungguns: To start things off, Baile, we wanted to ask you about your name. The spelling is very unique, is there some significance to that?
Baile Winslow: My mom always liked a show and the main character’s name was Bailey, but when she looked in the name book it was spelled this way…sometimes I think she might have overlooked that one.
KC: Alright, now on to golf. Baile, you won the individual 5A State Championship by 4 strokes. Can you describe what playing those last few holes were like?
BW: The last few holes were rough. I didn’t know where I stood in the tournament so I had no idea I was in the lead. The weather got pretty bad and I had a hard time keeping my hands warm and dry, which is important. The pin placements on the last few holes were tough, but I kept in mind the rest of the field would be struggling too. I tried to only focus on staying in the moment and taking it one shot at a time.
KC: St. Thomas Aquinas has a very strong tradition in girls golfing (the last five straight seasons a Saints player has finished first individually. Former State champions include Ali Kruse and Gianna Misenhelter). How do you think that strong tradition affected your game at State?
BW: People always expect Aquinas to win therefore that only motivates our team more. We work on setting goals throughout the season and are constantly working on how we can improve weaker parts of our game. The weeks leading up to state, Coach Best told us we needed to be the best short game team in the field. We worked longer than ever before on putting and chipping. As for pressure; I don’t really notice it I guess. Walking into state my goal was to win not only as an individual, but as a team. I think goals are the most important part of avoiding outside pressure because only you can determine what you expect from yourself.
KC: Was there anything important that you learned from Misenhelter or Kruse that has helped you with your game?
BW: Where do I start? Ali and Gianna are the first girls I met when I walked into Aquinas they have always been huge role models to me. I had only been playing golf for a few months before I met them so they were able to teach me so much about the game while at the same time we became very close friends. They have inspired many of the girls on our team to work hard and become the golfers we are.
KC: You just were honored with the title of “Kansas City Star’s girls golfer of the year.” What does that mean to you going forward?
BW: This title is really exciting for me. It shows me how much I have improved in a short amount of time which can sometimes be overlooked playing golf. It only motivates me more to see where my hard work will take me in the coming year.
KC: When did you start playing golf in the first place and why?
BW: That’s a tough one but my parents always were trying to get me to play golf but at first I hated it. Then I met some of the girls who played on the team at Aquinas and decided I wanted to do that too. And I had nothing else to do in high school. So, by the end of 8th grade I started practicing and worked at it all summer and was able to make varsity freshman year.
KC: Golf is an interesting sport in that you can win individually and then also win or possibly lose as a team. How do you balance both the individual and team aspects of golf?
BW: The most important thing to me is my team. They come first no matter what. At practice I know I need to be there to help and support them by giving them drills to do and different ways to work on their mental games. But by helping them, I learn a lot myself and discover new kinds of shots and ways of doing things. Plus golf is associated a lot with competing by yourself so I love being on a team working with other people.
KC: This year was your junior year, so you still have one season left. How are you preparing for next season, and what are the expectations?
BW: I’m preparing for next season by working on new shots, gaining distance and working more on my mental game. Golf is a never ending series of practicing and trying to get better. By gaining strength and endurance this winter I will be able to work harder and longer during the season to reach my goals for high school golf this fall. Unlike other sports, I’m not able to take the winter off; I need to keep practicing and working on fundamentals in order to be ready for a strong spring season. As for expectations, I will put myself in the position to win every tournament I play. I come to win and to improve myself from one year to the next which I feel I was able to do well in 2012.
KC: Not that we want to promote a competitor’s blog (we’re kidding), but you’ve told us that you’re soon going to start a blog yourself. Could you describe what the blog will be about, and why you started it in the first place?
KC: Haha, I have been thinking about doing something like this for a couple years now. It will start Jan. 1 and will be a daily update of something golf related for the entire year (bwinslowgolf13.wordpress.com) things like the tournaments I’m playing in and results from that, things that I have practiced that day, or something that just inspired me. Oh, and maybe I’ll put a link to kcyoungguns on it too…hmmm
KC: Well, we would greatly appreciate it. Since you are a junior, the college recruiting process is probably starting or has started. What has the recruiting process been like thus far and how have you handled it?
BW: The recruiting process isn’t easy; it’s a lot of work. Visiting schools is fun and I am starting to get an idea of what I am looking for in a coach and a school, but I am still nowhere near knowing where I am going to go. Being organized is important; my dad and I are working on a spread sheet that includes the schools I’m interested in, the coach, team averages and statistics along with some other things too.
KC: Spring is fast approaching, and let’s just say we here at kcyoungguns aren’t the best golfers. Do you have any tips for us and for our readers for the upcoming spring season?
BW: Practice! It’s the only thing you can really do to improve. Creating a good work ethic and setting goals for yourself is the only way you can reach your highest potential. Plus by doing those things and writing your experiences down you are able to see how you are improving. A few lessons never hurt anybody either!
KC: And finally, any last words or comments?
BW: I want to thank my family for all of their support this season especially my dad for teaching me how to play the game, as well as my teammates for being some of the best people I have ever met! On behalf of the entire team we want to thank the NHSCA coach of the year, Coach Best. Go Saints!
We want to thank Baile for taking the time do this interview. If you know someone who should be recognized for the week in our Chatting with… segment, email Blase Capelli at firstname.lastname@example.org or Spencer Montgomery at email@example.com.
And if you missed last week’s interview, we sat down with Mike Rose, Nebraska linebacker commit, to discuss his upcoming Under Armour All America High School football game, which will be played on January 5th.