O’Fallon senior Emily Marrs, the two-time recipient of the Belleville News-Democrat’s Class 2A Player of the Year award, has given a verbal commitment to Division I Western Illinois University.
Marrs settled on Western after visiting the Macomb campus and evaluating it as a place where she would feel comfortable for the next four years.
“I fell in love with the school, I fell in love with the campus, I fell in love with the coach (Lia Biehl Lukkarinen) and the course (Harry Mussatto Golf Course) — and just the area, in general,” Marrs said. “I kind of knew that was where I wanted to go.
“Macomb is such a small area, and I thought I might have trouble adjusting to coming from O’Fallon, where there’s stuff everywhere. We’re pretty big in size. But (Macomb) was really nice, and I just liked it a lot. It’s definitely a big relief (to commit). This is something I’ve been worried about since my freshman year.”
Marrs, the daughter of Rick and Pam Marrs, plans to major in physical therapy. She also considered Southern Illinois University Carbondale and Missouri State.
“Everything about Western felt right,” said Marrs, who is looking forward to meeting the challenges associated with moving from high school to college competition.
“The adjustment from high school to college is definitely a big one,” she said. “That’s something I’ve been preparing myself for, playing in the summer tournaments that I do. I try to play in as many as I can to prepare for the level of competition I’m going to see at the college level.
“The courses I’ll play in college are a lot longer; they’ll be 6,200 yards. If you’re not hitting well off the tee and you’re in the fairway or rough, you’ll have to rely on your short game. Pitching, hitting, putting, it’s all important. I’ll have to stay calm, trust in my abilities and trust in the golfer I am.”
Marrs is part of a deep and talented O’Fallon team that won the Southwestern Conference championship Tuesday. The Panthers will play host to the regional tournament Wednesday at Tamarack Golf Club in Shiloh.
Marrs said playing for O’Fallon coach Chris Eddy has been a positive experience.
“He helps all of us,” Marrs said. “He definitely helps me mentally with my course management. Course management has been a big thing. He helps me plan out everything and make the best decision for where I’m at.
“I’m definitely excited to start my new life and everything at Western. I also know I’m going to miss home, and I’m enjoying every last bit of what I have left of my high school career.”
David Wilhelm: @DavidMWilhelm