PONTIAC — Ali Schrock knew she was going to play golf in the Missouri Valley Conference. The Pontiac High School standout just had to figure out which school.
In the end, Schrock decided Illinois State was a better fit than Loyola. The 2017 Class 1A state champion signed a national letter of commitment with the Redbirds women's golf team Friday.
“It came down to I like the location better (at ISU),” said Schrock, who also considered Illinois Wesleyan. “It's easier to get to the golf course and practice. It's a little harder down in the city (Chicago).
"ISU has a great facility (the Mounier Golf Training Center). Both coaches were amazing, so it made it really hard.”
ISU is led by first-year head coach Breanne Hall.
“Just the way she went about the whole recruiting process and meeting her and what she's done in the past, it was reassuring,” said Schrock of Hall.
Schrock was a four-time Class 1A State Tournament participant. After tying for 14th and 31st place as a freshman and sophomore, respectively, Schrock won medalist honors as a junior at Red Tail Run Golf Club in Decatur with a 5-over-par 149 total.
“Freshman year she came on and took a lot people by surprise who did not know about her,” said Pontiac coach Gary Brunner. “Freshman and sophomore year, day 2 did not go well. After day 2 of sophomore year we said let's change some things and see how it works.”
Brunner said Schrock relaxed and improved her mental approach. She dominated during her senior season, especially in the regional at Bloomington's Prairie Vista Golf Course where Schrock fired a 2-under-par 69 in windy conditions to beat the rest of the field by 11 strokes.
Schrock also captured first in the sectional at her home course, Pontiac Elks, shooting even-par 72, before trying to defend her state title. She was in second place, three strokes off the lead, after the first round before surging into the lead on the second day.
However, Schrock took a double bogey on No. 16 after hitting her tee shot out-of-bounds and ended up tied for third. The only satisfaction was watching her sister, freshman Dani Grace, take the title.
“It was a learning experience,” said Schrock, who was joined at a signing ceremony at the high school Friday by her parents, Alan and Joanie, older brother Matthew and Dani Grace. “Last year my game changed a lot and my scores dropped dramatically. I just became a lot more consistent and kept the ball enough in play to shoot low scores.”
Brunner said Schrock already is long enough off the tee and won't have to worry about playing longer courses in college.
Getting the opportunity to compete as a freshman was important to Schrock, but it wasn't the only thing.
“I want to go in there and make a big impact right away,” she said. “I think it's possible for me to do that. I'm excited to get to be able to play a lot.”
Schrock is unsure of a major, although she is thinking about business or education. She is the third recruit to sign with the Redbirds joining Adrienne Rohwedder of Prospect Heights and Emma Rouger of France. They signed national letters of intent in November.