St. Charles North senior girls golfer Gabi Spinazze usually follows sophomore teammates Gianna Furrie and Kate Lillie on the scorecard.
She satisfies her leadership quota off the course.
Spinazze organized a team pasta dinner on the eve of last week’s Class AA Burlington Central Regional, and surely has similar outings in the works as the North Stars prepare for their second straight trip to the state meet this weekend. Her teammates make it easy, she insists, and not just by promptly RSVPing.
“We all get along great, and we’re all like a small family,” Spinazze said. “It’s a lot of fun to be around.”
Spinazze, Furrie and Lillie are the lone returners from the 2013 North state team that finished ninth at Hickory Point in Forsyth. Spinazze ranked fifth among the North Stars’ six-player contingent, shooting a two-day 196.
Lillie (157) and Furrie (165) ranked first and third, respectively, with then-seniors Carly Hudon and Jessica Grill also comprising North’s top four.
Grill and Hudon’s graduations would create an opening, Spinazze knew, and she spent the summer determined to help fill it.
“Overall, I’ve improved a lot since I’ve worked hard over the summer,” Spinazze said. “Everybody else has worked hard, too. So it’s turned out to be a great year.”
Harnessing her intangibles alongside her game wasn’t foremost on Spinazze’s training regimen, mostly because she felt she already had a sound command of them. Given her history in volunteering and as part of North’s Health Occupations Students of America club, accommodating her teammates comes naturally.
“She keeps us going. She has senior leadership everywhere – on the golf course and off,” first-year North coach Irish Whalen said. “She keeps the core of our team together.”
And, on occasion, well-fed with carbs.
“She’s always great with that kind of stuff,” Furrie said.
An aspiring nutrition major, ideally at Kentucky, Spinazze has served as North’s third scorer in its Upstate Eight Conference River Division and regional victories. She shot an 84 at conference and a 92 at regionals, the same score she registered in North’s runner-up finish at Monday’s Conant Sectional at Fox Run in Elk Grove Village.
Her conference score marked a season-low for 18 holes. She fired her best nine-hole round at Naperbrook in Wheatland, shooting a 38.
As Furrie and Lillie have jockeyed for top positioning at conference, regionals and sectionals – Furrie went 76, 70, 74 to Lillie’s 79, 76, 69 – Spinazze keeps smiling about their poise. She was in the program when Furrie’s older sister, Ariana, starred for North, but wasn’t certain of what was coming down the pipeline.
“I didn’t get into golf until freshman year, so I honestly didn’t even know who was in the golf [scene]. Who was good, who wasn’t good as far as golfing-wise,” Spinazze said. “It was an awesome shock to see that these guys are really good. And there’s still more.”