Rock Bridge's Reimler chose golf over soccer

Wednesday, September 7, 2011 | 11:31 p.m. CDT
Rock Bridge senior Morgan Reimler watches her ball after a swing during a tournament Wednesday at Old Hawthorne Country Club. Although Reimler used to be a star soccer player and was on a team for the US Youth Soccer Olympic Development Program, she is now Rock Bridge's top girls golfer.

COLUMBIA — There have always been two-sport athletes, but having to choose one of those sports over the other is rarely an easy decision.

But when the time came for Morgan Reimler to decide between the game she was always good at and the game she wanted to be good at, the choice was simple.

“Golf is really what I wanted to be doing, and now I see myself playing golf for the rest of my life,” Reimler said.

Reimler, now a senior on the Rock Bridge girls golf team, had played soccer her whole life up through her sophomore year. And she was good at it.

The U.S. Youth Soccer Olympic Development Program does not accept just anyone. Tryouts are held annually for specific age groups, and only the best soccer players in the state make the team.

Reimler was on the Olympic Development Program state team in seventh and eighth grade. She says once she made the team, she envisioned herself playing soccer forever. But when she started high school, the strain of both sports became too much.

“Soccer was all year round, with club and high school,” Reimler said, “So I’d be leaving golf early to go to soccer, and I wasn’t getting my best effort.”

But Reimler always knew that if she ever had to pick one sport over the other, golf was definitely going to be the choice. She no longer saw the point in spending three-fourths of her time practicing for soccer when she could be working on her golf game.

When she decided to drop out of soccer, however, Reimler was not an immediate standout on the golf team. But with her focus on just one sport, it did not take too long for Reimler to improve her standing on the Bruins.

“She wasn’t bad by any means,” Rock Bridge coach Melissa Melahn said. “But I would say, at least in the last two years, her averages have improved by 10 strokes.”

According to Melahn, a 10-stroke difference is a substantial improvement in such a small amount of time. In fact, Reimler improved so rapidly that Melahn said she knew during Reimler’s junior year that Reimler would likely become a leader on this year's team.

“She was even thinking then, somebody’s going to have to step up and take the spot as No. 1 and senior leader on the team,” Melahn said.

After this past summer, in which Reimler practiced vigorously, she has now become the most consistent player for the Bruins and plays the top competition from opposing teams every match. She has helped Rock Bridge to a 4-0-1 record so far this season.

As a junior last year, Reimler helped the Bruins win a second consecutive district championship, as well as a fourth-place finish in the state finals. With Reimler, Rock Bridge has a No. 1 golfer that they can count on to consistently shoot low rounds.

With the Bruins success, in addition to her own individually, Reimler is happy with her choice to focus on high school golf.

“I don’t regret it at all,” Reimler said. “If I ever look back, I would say that was the best decision to make.”

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