INA – Rend Lake College recently signed Athena Smolka, a resident of Petersburg, Mich. and Notre Dame Academy High School senior, to play for the Lady Warriors golf program in the fall.
Smolka is the daughter of Ken and Marietta Smolka. She is active in many sports and, according to RLC head ladies golf coach Cindy Corn, is proactive in continuing her golf game at the next level.
“Actually, her mom contacted us and we followed up with her golf instructor, talked to the athletic director and Athena came down for a visit about three weeks ago,” Corn explained.
While visiting RLC, Corn made Smolka do what any coach would do with a recruit. She watched her play golf.
“I made her tee it up so I could see what she looked like in person,” Corn said.
From there, Corn and her mother, Mary O’Neal – who is a Master Professional in the LPGA and an assistant coach for RLC – analyzed Smolka’s swing and decided to offer her a spot on next year’s squad.
“She is very athletic,” Corn said. “She plays in a number of sports.”
In fact, Smolka began playing golf just more than two years ago. Natural talent made for a smooth transition to the game.
“Her swing was solid,” Corn added. “She has a lot of potential and is very strong off of the tee. She has good fundamentals and she is a good kid.”
Coming from a rigorous academic program at Notre Dame Academy High School in Toledo, Smolka should excel in as well as on courses at RLC. She aced placement testing at the college, according to Corn.
Her high school golf coach, Dan Lancaster, reported that Smolka had a 39.2 stroke average over nine holes and a 79 through 18. She finished 20th at the Ohio State Finals, shooting an 80-84 for Second Team All-State. She was the MVP and team captain of her city team and made First Team All District for three years with a district record-low, nine-hole round of 34.
She was joined at her signing engagement by Notre Dame Academy High Principal Kim Grilliot, Athletic Director Pam Edgell, Marietta Smolka (mother), and PGA Instructor Claire Batista.
For additional information about this release, one may contact Corn at 618-437-5321, Ext. 1721.