Ankita Kedlaya of Bangalore, India, and Yuki Nakayama of Kawasaki-shi, Japan, can breathe a small sigh of relief heading into their senior year at IJGA as they now both know where they’ll be playing golf next year. Kedlaya has verbally committed to play golf for East Tennessee State University and Nakayama has verbally committed to the University of South Florida beginning the 2016-2017 season.
Kedlaya came to IJGA last year and hit the ground running. “Ankita brings a passion for the game of golf unlike any other student-athlete I have ever seen,” said Athletic Director Ann Maness.
According to Kedlaya, she’s seen the most improvement in her chipping and up-and-downs around the green this year.
In January, Kedlaya earned medalist honors at a Sea Pines Junior Heritage qualifier to earn a spot in February’s Sea Pines Junior Heritage. In May she was named to the Girls Division All-IJGT Team after notching three wins on the International Junior Golf Tour (IJGT) last season. Last month, Kedlaya finished third in the Trusted Choice Big I South Carolina Championship.
She hopes to one day play professional golf at the top level and joining the ETSU women’s golf team is certainly a step in the right direction toward that goal.
“Ankita is a great player and will make an impact for ETSU immediately,” said Maness. “She has a strong work ethic and will continue this at the next level.”
In addition to working hard toward success on the course and in the classroom—she’s a member of the National Honor Society at Heritage Academy—Kedlaya is also very involved in her community. In May, she earned a silver Mayor’s Youth Volunteer Service award for completing more than 50 hours of community service.
Nakayama will be following in her sister’s footsteps, playing college golf in Florida. Her older sister, IJGA alum Ayaka Nakayama currently plays for the University of Central Florida.
“I am so proud of Yuki’s accomplishments, especially her decision to commit to the University of South Florida,” said Maness. “She set her goal on this school when she stepped foot on the campus of IJGA and never looked back.”
Last season, the USF Bulls finished fourth in the American Athletic Conference Tournament. Next season will be Head Coach Marci Kornegay’s ninth with the Bulls. Kornegay was a four-year letter winner at the University of Mississippi. In 2010, she was named BIG EAST Coach of the Year.
“USF will be a great fit for Yuki as it will give her the time to continue to grow and learn in her golf game,” said Maness. “Coach Kornegay is a great leader and Yuki will learn so much from her experience at the next level, not only coaching, but as a player as well.”
“Yuki is a very diligent student who is not only smart, but receptive to my guidance,” said Nakayama’s coach, Sue Lee. “When she and I started working together, we both knew that she needed improvements in everything, both long- and short-game. She has worked very hard to now be considered a long-hitter and very good ball-striker with 12-16 greens in regulation on average.”
Nakayama is currently taking a brief hiatus from golf to focus on maximizing her standardized test scores. “She spent her first month of summer playing tournaments and is now studying very hard back home,” said Lee.
Congratulations to Ankita Kedlaya and Yuki Nakayama on taking this exciting next step toward continuing their golf careers!