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Paige Chappell

Charleston's Paige Chappell qualified for the Class 1A state tournament for the fourth year in a row.

CHARLESTON — Going to the Class 1A state golf tournament is nothing new for Charleston's Paige Chappell, since she's been there three times already. As a freshman, the Lady Trojans finished in third place as a team. Then a year later, Chappell was part of the Lady Trojans state title team as they won the first-ever team state title in Charleston High School history. Last year the Lady Trojans once again qualified for state.

This season Chappell is the elder statesman on the team since she's been on varsity since she was a freshman. After shooting an 80 at the sectional meet on Monday, Chappell once again qualified for state and will have one last trip to Hickory Point Golf Club as a member of the Charleston golf team.

It will be a bit of a new experience for Chappell, though, since this time the team didn't qualify. So Chappell will be going on her own.

"It's exciting. I was nervous about the team making it, but I made it on my own," Chappell said. "It will feel a lot different this year. I won't have my teammates in front of me and behind me on the course. I will be by myself on holes."

Chappell is keeping her expectations simple. The IHSA implemented a cut rule at state golf. The top eight teams advance to Saturday's action, and the top 20 individuals who aren't there as a member of a team advance to Saturday's action. Chappell basically wants to make it through to Saturday's action.

"I am hoping to make it to the second day and in the top 20, so just play well," Chappell said. "I have the ability to make it, I just have to play solid."

As a freshman, Chappell scored as Charleston's No. 4 golfer. In the two-day event, she put up a 188. The next season Chappell once against was Charleston's No. 4 scorer and put up the exact same score at state. Last year she shaved a good amount of strokes off her score. Chappell was Charleston's No. 1 golfer at state after she put together a 169. She shot an 81 on the first day and an 88 on the second day. She finished in 32nd place.

In the last couple of weeks, Chappell has been playing the best golf in her career. She won the individual 1A regional title last week when she shot an 81. Then on Monday at the 1A sectional at Edgewood Golf Course, Chappell finished in third place with an 80.

Chappell said she's starting to take her senior season more seriously.

"I am playing a lot better, a lot more solid and more consistent," Chappell said. "I've been caring a lot more. My determination has been better now that it's postseason. My wedge play has been better. It's my last year and I have to make it far. I had to qualify and play well."

It's been quite the journey for Chappell. From playing with her sister Lauren, who is now golfing at SMU, to winning a state title and now becoming the top golfer for Charleston this season, Chappell has had a lot of fun along the way. Now she's looking to have fun in her last trip to state.

"These last four years have been a lot of fun. Different teammates the last four years and it's been good," Chappell said. "It was a lot of fun. I've been on teams where we got to win, I've been on teams where we've got to qualify and I've had a lot of different players. It's been fun."

Contact Justin Rust at (217) 238-6856. Follow him on Twitter: @JustinRust

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