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Pocola’s Raychel Nelke – Coast guard “always ready” athlete spotlight

Golf has long been defined as a game of honor and for Raychel Nelke of Pocola, golf is just one avenue of living a life of honor that continues to result in top of the leaderboard results.

“Character can be defined as being honest, respectful, responsible, positive and encouraging,” replied the Pocola High School junior who strives hard to lower her average golf scores while raising the eyebrows of others she meets. “I would think that I am all of those things that are in my definition and I would hope that is what anyone would tell you about me.”

Since she first picked up a golf club at age seven and winning her first tournament when she was eight, Nelke has fine tuned her golf swing and mental focus resulting in major accomplishments including winning last summer’s prestigious Oklahoma Women’s Golf Association championship.

“It’s definitely one of my biggest moments on the course,” recalled Nelke on the head to head matchup with the defending champion and 2021 Class 4A medalist Maddi Kamas of Kingfisher. “I birdied the final two holes for the win.”

This spring, playing as an individual on the high school circuit, Nelke has played in six tournaments and finished among the top three scores on the leaderboard each time.

“I have won two, placed second in three tournaments and third in one of the tournaments.”

Her third place finish came in the Class 2A state tournament finishing the 36-holes with rounds of 71-70, eight strokes off the pace of state champion Jenni Roller of Regent Prep and one stroke behind second place finisher Jaci Hartman of Turner.

“The hardest thing for me during the state tournament was that I really did not go head to head with either Jayci or Jenni. Since my school does not have a golf team I played as an individual and therefore I played with the top individuals,” explained Nelke noting it’s left a will to win the medalist honors in 2022 as a senior.

“That’s what I think every time after any other tournament that I play in – I go back and practice hard.”

After spending this summer playing in golf tournaments, Nelke will enter her senior year sporting a 4.0 GPA and knows there’s golf at the collegiate level waiting on the tee box after a verbal commitment to play golf at the University of Oklahoma.

“I am super excited about the big show! I have several friends that are also going to OU. I think we are going to do good things.”

And with her favorite club, her driver in hand, Nelke will be found on the golf course gripping and ripping it down the middle of the fairway motivated for continued success by the advice of her number one fan, her dad Scott Nelke.

“If you work hard, anything in life is possible”.

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