THS golf standout continuing career in college

THS senior Katelyn Wood, center, signs a golf scholarship with Spring Hill College during an April 18 ceremony in the school’s library. She is joined by, from left, her step-mother McKenzie Wood, father Roger Wood, golf instructor Hank Johnson and mother, Karen Leach. (Reporter Photo/Neal Wagner)

THS senior Katelyn Wood, center, signs a golf scholarship with Spring Hill College during an April 18 ceremony in the school’s library. She is joined by, from left, her step-mother McKenzie Wood, father Roger Wood, golf instructor Hank Johnson and mother, Karen Leach. (Reporter Photo/Neal Wagner)

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

ALABASTER – After seeing Spring Hill College’s small class sizes, meeting the college’s golf coach and touring the school’s on-campus golf course, Thompson High School senior golf player Katelyn Wood was hooked.

“It’s very comfortable. They are very nice and welcoming,” Wood said. “They make you feel like you’re at home.”

Since beginning her golf career only a year-and-a-half ago, Wood has progressed at a rapid pace, sharpening her skills with the help of the Hank Johnson School of Golf at Timberline Golf Club in Calera.

Wood’s talent and passion for the game drew the attention of Mobile’s Spring Hill College, which recently offered her an athletic scholarship.

And on April 18, she got to celebrate her achievements while surrounded by family and friends during a signing ceremony in the THS library.

“I used to not think that something like this could happen to someone like me,” Wood said. “With hard practice and with people that helped push me – specifically my family and close friends who push me when I need it, (THS girls’ golf) coach (Beverly) Musial and my two instructors, Mr. Hank Johnson and Mr. Scott Hassee – I have come far from where I started and I feel like I can go very far with my new collegiate team.”

Wood has also seen success in the classroom, drawing praise from the school’s teachers and administrators.

“I’m sure everyone here is just as proud of Katelyn Wood as I am and the things that she has accomplished – Not just in golf, but also by far in academics, as a person and as a leader here at the school. She is an absolute model student,” said THS Principal Dr. Wesley Hester. “We just appreciate you for being that type of person with that type of character. You’ve paved the way for others to follow in a very positive way.”

Although Wood got somewhat of a late start in the sport compared to many other high school golfers, she didn’t let it slow her down, Musial said.

“This is a testament to Katelyn and her hard work. I appreciate what Katelyn has done for me. I wish I could take credit for Katelyn, but I can not,” Musial said. “I think her love of golf came from her dad, and I think we owe her talent to her dad and to Mr. Hank Johnson. Katelyn epitomizes hard work. She works and works and works.”

Johnson also was quick to shine the spotlight on Wood.

“I’d like to thank Katelyn for giving us an opportunity to help develop her talent,” Johnson said. “I won’t take any credit, because she’s done all the hard work. I’ve just given her a roadmap.”