By BEN JOHNSON
It seemed like such an unobtainable goal. Deep down in her heart, that’s how Emily Pippin felt.
She was never quite sure if she’d be able to achieve All-State status.
“It was always one of those goals that I really wanted to achieve,” Pippin said, “but it seemed a little out of my reach.”
All the Tahlequah High School senior had to do was be one of the two top seniors from the east side of Oklahoma at the Class 5A state golf tournament in Ardmore. She entered the event brimming with confidence, after finishing third overall at the 5A regional tournament at Pryor Creek.
She followed that up with a 36-hole total of 179 (92-87) at Dornick Hills in southern Oklahoma. She shrugged off her only round in the 90s all year to edge past Coweta’s ShyAnn Williams and claim one of the two All-State spots in 5A.
“It’s very special to me that only two girls from the east are going to the All-State tournament,” Pippin said. “It’s a great feeling to achieve a goal that I didn’t even think was possible.”
Pippin — who came in 14th at the state tournament — will compete in the All-State tournament on Monday at Cherokee Hills Golf Club in Catoosa. She’ll be joined by fellow 5A golfer, Claremore’s Alyssa Brown. Oktaha’s Kailey Campbell and Eufaula’s Faith Lasiter will also be members of the 12-player East team.
Sporting a Tahlequah polo one last time on the links is something that Pippin is looking forward to.
“I’m very glad to be representing Tahlequah once again in the All-State games,” Pippin said. “I wasn’t ready to be done with my high school golf career back in May. I’m happy to have one last go-round.”
Asked if she thought much about making the All-State squad while at the state tournament, Pippin said she did initially, but her focus eventually shifted to everyone and everything she’s going to miss during the next handful of spring seasons.
“The All-State team was on my mind a lot while I was competing in Ardmore,” Pippin recalled. “But when I was coming down the home stretch of what I thought would be the final 18 as a Tahlequah Tiger, all I could think about is how much my life would be changing in the new few months and how much I would miss my coach, my teammates and the traveling.”
Now she gets to cap off her career in the field consisting of the best senior golfers in the state.
As for her game plan at the All-State tournament, Pippin said her main goal is just to have fun.
“The All-State tournament will definitely be more laid back for me,” she said. “I’m going to try and sit back and enjoy it more than what I normally would, simply because this is my last chance as a Tiger.
Q&A: Emily Pippin, Tahlequah’s All-State golfer
Emily Pippin is set to enjoy one last round of golf as a Tahlequah student. She will compete in the All-State tournament on Monday at Cherokee Hills Golf Club in Catoosa. Pippin, who finished 14th overall at the Class 5A state tournament in May, picked up the All-State berth by being one of the two top senior finishers from the east side of the state. The All-State tournament is slated to begin at 8:30 a.m.
Have you every played Cherokee Hills Golf Club before?
The course that we will be competing at is a tough course. It’s very long with several difficult holes. I have played there only once during my high school career, and I believe I was a freshman.
What is your favorite golf course to play?
Pryor Creek in Pryor. The course has treated me very well, starting back in the eighth grade when I won my first tournament, and ending my career by placing as the third overall individual in the regional at the state qualifying tournament. The Pryor golf girls have always been our team’s favorite as well.
What kind of clubs do you play with? And which club is your go-to club if all else fails?
I play the men’s Cobra II irons with a Nike Sasquatch driver and a Taylor Made putter. My go-to club is always my 8-iron. It has saved me more times than I can count.
What’s next for you after the All-State tournament?
Shortly after the All-State tournament, I will be moving to Norman where I will live on campus at the University of Oklahoma. I plan on majoring in criminal justice.