By Kyle Daubs

If you want to know what progression looks like, take a look at Stacey Zerbst’s golf career. 

After two seasons of working on her golf game, Zerbst was one of three All-Apollo golfers who helped Charleston win its first Apollo Conference title in five years. This year, Zerbst finished with her best overall finish ever at conference – as the league’s runner-up. 

“Finishing second means a lot to me,” said Zerbst. “It shows how much I have grown.”

It was a tough day at Meadowview Golf Course in Mattoon. Strong winds mixed with rain fell for at least three to four holes to inflate the scores. Yet, Zerbst fired a 91 to finish just three strokes behind medalist Ainsley Winters from Effingham. 

“I’m very happy with the score I got, but I know I could have done better,” said Zerbst. “To be honest, I don’t remember much even though it was only a while ago. I’ve got to say that my putting was the best that day. Everything else was OK and did its part. It does feel like most of the practice I have done so far has paid off.”

Despite the career-high finish at the conference invite, the senior said she is feeling bittersweet about finishing as runner-up. 

“Of course, everyone can say that, but I am a little bummed out that I was so close to first,” said Zerbst. “I feel great that we were able to win Apollo again this year. It makes me believe that we will make it to sectionals and maybe state with the team this year.”

After last year’s No. 1 golfer, Hannah Harpster, graduated, Zerbst decided to take a few more risks and be the dependable No. 1 golfer to lead this year’s team.

Dating back to last postseason, Zerbst has stepped up. Zerbst led all scorers when Charleston placed second overall at the Rochester Sectional to take 13th overall.

Zerbst is hopeful that this team can officially make state for the first time as a team since 2018, although the Trojans unofficially qualified last year for an IHSA state tournament that was canceled.

With Regionals coming up, Zerbst is hopeful that the momentum carries over and the team can play their best golf as the calendar shifts to October. 

“I know I can do so much more, and so do a lot of other people that believe in me,” said Zerbst. “It gets me fired up for what’s to come.”