CHARLESTON — When Charleston's Haley Walker got the call from Illinois College women's golf coach Abby Vorreyer about joining the Lady Blues' program, she had to give it some thought. It wasn't really about if the school would be a good fit for her, it was if she wanted to continue golfing in college.
Walker played a key role for the Charleston girls' golf team over the past few seasons, but she wondered if she wanted more time to do other things, including focusing on her studies.
But Walker decided to hear Vorreyer out and took a visit to Illinois College and met with Vorreyer. It was easily enough to convince Walker that she still wanted to golf and she could still juggle her schoolwork, being on the women's golf team and anything else she wanted to try.
On Tuesday, Walker signed the papers to join the Illinois College women's golf team.
"I was so excited. When (coach) first contacted me, I wasn't really sure about it, but coming to the campus and seeing how well everyone interacted with one another, it just really pushed me to be apart of it," Walker said. "I knew the college was good academically. I just wanted to make sure I was ready to play golf for four years. I want to thank everybody who has supported me."
Even though Walker thought about not continuing as a college golfer, she realized how important the sport has been in her life.
"Golf has always been a really big part in my life," Walker said. "I just loved the idea of being able to play it longer competitively. I figured college is about getting to try new things and experiencing things I wasn't able to in high school. Playing a college sport is one of the things I wanted to experience."
Walker already knows what she wants to major in, Biology, and she wants to be a forensic scientist in the future.
"I've always been interested in science and science has always made sense to me," Walker said. "I've always loved forensic science."
Walker has played a key role on the Charleston girls' golf team the past four seasons. She's been on varsity all four years and helped the Lady Trojans win a state title as a junior. She feels the experience from the past four seasons will carry over to Illinois College, which is an NCAA Division III program in Jacksonville.
"I saw how much I improved from past year and I thought I can do this if put my heart and mind to it," Walker said. "My coaches have taught me a lot, how to be a good teammate and obviously golf. I've been truly blessed because I've got so many great experiences and I think I can take the good sportsmanship and level-mindedness to college."
Walker made the jump from one of the top six golfers in her first three seasons to being one of the top golfers on the team as a senior. She feels she still has room for improvement when she joins Illinois College.
"I think I am ready to make a lot of improvement," Walker said. "Obviously it's not just me that will improve there, but I think I can improve and help a lot."