EUREKA – Carolyn Pacocha and her younger sister, Allison, have not made it to every State Farm Youth Classic since they began swinging a golf club. Still, they have played in the annual Bloomington-Normal tournament enough to be called regulars.
Their history in the event goes back to when Carolyn Pacocha put the "youth" in Youth Classic.
“I remember playing in it when I was 5 years old,” she said. “We always try to get there.”
Now 18, she will tee it up in the College Division at Illinois State University’s Weibring course in Normal when the tournament returns for the 18th year Monday and Tuesday. Her sister will be in the 14-15 age division at Ironwood Golf Course on Normal’s northeast side.
Carolyn Pacocha will play golf and study accounting next year at Grace College, a National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) school in Winona Lake, Ind. Allison, 15, will be a sophomore at Eureka, where the sisters were teammates last fall.
Golf is a cherished and shared family pursuit.
“We’ve always been competitive,” Carolyn said. “We push each other and we remember playing songs during our car rides and during the golf rounds. It’s always been really fun playing with her.”
Allison agreed, saying the sisters have benefited from playing in the same tournaments and often on the same courses.
“It’s interesting to see how well she did,” Allison said. “We’re like, ‘How’d you do? How you’d do?’ It’s nice to compare and take notes and learn from each other.”
The Pacochas have built friendships along the way in their summer tournament travels. Included are those with sisters Ali and Dani Schrock of Pontiac. Ali Schrock, who will be a first-year player on the ISU squad, is in the College Division with Carolyn Pacocha. Dani Schrock is in the same division with Allison Pacocha.
“We’ve become really close friends with them over the years,” Carolyn said.
So close, Allison Pacocha mentioned the atmosphere is light and enjoyable when she and Dani Schrock are on the course together.
“We had always seen each other when we were little and we just gravitated toward each other,” Allison said. “We laugh and giggle while we’re together, so it brings out more of the happiness than a rivalry.”
Allison Pacocha played in a tournament at Ironwood not long ago and said, “I’m very familiar with the course.”
Asked if it suits her game, she replied, “I believe so.”
“I’ve improved every round,” she said of her play this summer. “My average right now is 80, but last week I shot 75.”
She recently won a pair of tourneys sponsored by the Peoria Park District. She will have good competition in Dani Schrock, who last fall won the one A state title in her first season on the prep circuit. Allison Pacocha placed fourth and Carolyn Pacocha tied for fifth.
Carolyn is eager to play in the College Division, citing the “healthy competition” she will encounter. That includes Ali Schrock, whose average is 74 and was the one A champ in ’17.
“I’m pretty happy with where I’m at right now,” Carolyn Pacocha said. “My short game could use a little work, but I’m sure it will come together when I need it.
“There are no expectations (this week). I’m just going to see where it falls. Hopefully, I do well, but I’ll be happy with whatever I have.”
The tournament, which is organized by the B-N Area Sports Commission, is for golfers ages 3-22 and played at six B-N courses.