Minot’s Will Kannegieser prepares for new athletic opportunities

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He recognized it would be his last year in that tournament.

From there, his last year of high school was to follow. Graduation would then be looming, and his future would truly begin to evolve.

“When I won last year, it was good because I knew I was going out the last tournament on a good note,” Kannegieser said. “When it’s time for you to go, it’s time to go.”

This year, the Gould Academy graduate is preparing for the next chapter of his life, which includes working on his golf game and his skiing, two of his staples in recent years.

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“It’s sort of been a transition year,” Kannegieser said. “I’ve played in a few junior tournaments. There’s some in other places where, until you’re in college, you can play in those tournaments. It’s sort of been a transition and a mix. But I haven’t really played in many more tournaments than I have in past years.”

If anything, Kannegieser says he’s played less golf. He’s mixed some junior events that he usually plays in with some of the prominent Maine golf events that he’s participated in regularly. He missed the cut in the Maine Amateur last month and lost in the first round of the Match Play Invitational last week.

With his high school career behind him, he’s focusing on his future. He’s planning on taking the next year off and then he’ll attend Williams College in Williamstown, Mass. That is where he hopes to take his golf and skiing passions to the next level.

“It was one of the few places that had a Division I ski team but also had a Division III golf program,” he said. “I wanted to stay on the East Coast, and I wanted to go to a small school that had good academics. That narrowed it down to about five schools. It was pretty easy to make the choice in the end.”

He admits that juggling an academic schedule with two sports in two different seasons will be a challenge.

“That’s what I like,” he said. “That’s what I signed up for.”

Giving up one of the sports at this time in his life really wasn’t an option. And picking one over the other is too difficult. He enjoys pursuing them equally.

“I can’t exactly ski the rest of my life,” said Kannegieser, who races the slalom, giant slalom and super-G. “It’s a very youth-oriented sport. The competition is very young. Unless you make the United State Ski Team, it doesn’t go much past college. I try not to play favorites with sports because that can effect my performance in one.”

If anything, he says, having two sports to focus on is a benefit. It can be a challenge, but it allows him a variety of experiences and prevents him from being consumed by one or the other.

“Sometimes it’s a good thing and sometimes it’s a bad thing,” Kannegieser said. “When I’m getting toward the end of a certain season like golf or the end of the ski season, I sometimes can get ahead of myself. I start thinking of the other sport. That can be sort of a distraction. In other ways, not worrying about golf all year round or skiing all year round, it keeps me balanced. Sometimes I find when I care a little bit less about my sports, I play better and that helps me do that.”

Taking a year off between high school and college will allow Kannegieser to put more time into both sports. He’s not so concerned with winning tournaments or posting the fastest ski times, but working on his skills in both. He doesn’t have any specific golf tournaments planned for the rest of the season, but doesn’t dismiss being a late entry when opportunity arises.

“I’m just looking to improve both my skiing and my golf,” Kannegieser said. “I’m not looking for any particular results, especially with skiing since it’s hard to be result-oriented because it’s all relative. As far as golf goes, I’ll have plenty of time with that. I know I’ll have plenty of chances to play good golf in the future. So I’m just looking to improve and make sure that every year I’m a little bit better than I was the year before.”

kmills@sunjournal.com

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