ST. CHARLES – St. Charles North senior Carly Hudon considers herself a golfer. Period. Past and present company makes that easy.
A Sycamore transfer who competed with boys for the past three regular seasons, Hudon grins about getting to be one of the girls in foreign yet friendly surroundings.
“I was just always on a guys team for something. I played sports with guys since I was little, and I just felt comfortable, I guess,” Hudon said. “I had never been on a girls team prior to that, so this is definitely new, and I love it.”
Fresh off completing a 9-1 Upstate Eight Conference duals record Tuesday, the North Stars feel just as strongly about their new teammate.
Fellow senior Jessica Grill, who with Hudon provides support behind standout North freshmen Gianna Furrie and Kate Lillie, described an instant connection.
Pairings drew them together. Personalities kept them there.
“She’s [No.] 3 and I’m [No.] 4, so we’d have to play together, and every time we did, I think we just became closer,” Grill said. “It’s really easy when you play together for about four hours.”
Hudon embraced golf while growing up in Florida, and the game traveled well when she moved to Sycamore late in middle school to be closer to family.
Although Sycamore does not offer a girls golf team, Hudon emerged as a top talent anyway, playing with the boys before shifting to compete with the girls in the Class AA postseason.
She advanced to the state meet as a freshman after shooting 79 at sectionals at Rockford’s Ingersoll Golf Course, which also hosts the 2013 sectional. Returning to Ingersoll for Saturday’s Rockford Guilford Invitational, she carded a team-best 78, a 6-over-par score that helped North finish third in the 22-team event in a breakthrough showing.
“It was a good day,” Hudon said. “Everything started really working.”
Surely, that’s comforting to Hudon’s grandparents, who called North Stars coach Chris Patrick early in 2013 to inquire about the dynamics of a girls team. Hudon’s family had moved from Sycamore to St. Charles during the winter, she said, and Hudon elected to commute to Sycamore for the final semester of her junior year.
Channeling the conversation, Patrick recalled being up front about everything, namely Hudon’s potential impact on a sound returning core that also was welcoming two seasoned freshmen.
“She would help the team instantly, as well,” Patrick said. “She would give us a big boost right away.”
Grill has witnessed as much with anticipation, often from just a few yards away. She sees a calm, confident player with a great knowledge for the game and a wealth of experience.
Yes, even with boys.
The prattle of the sexes sometimes takes a backseat in Grill’s mind given her natural comfort with her fraternal twin brother, JT, a top golfer for the North boys team. Still, it has been a topic between Grill and Hudon before.
“When we’d talk about it, she just talked mostly about how much better it is playing with girls because she can talk with us about anything, and boys, it’s more just, ‘We golf,’ ” Grill said. “I think, whenever I play with my brother, his friends, we get along fine. She didn’t make it seem like it was completely different, at all.”
Hudon aspires to return to state no matter her regular season companions. She missed either the state cut or a playoff by two strokes at sectionals as a sophomore and junior.
Hudon says, “I feel like I connected with even more people right away here than I ever did in Sycamore.”
Her desire to also be close to the pin hasn’t changed.