Kailey Godfrey has maybe had a deeper appreciation for the power of an opportunity than most who have played golf in the high school ranks.
As a girl playing on the boys golf team at Lakeland High School in Minocqua, which doesn't offer girls golf in the fall, Godfrey had to create her own opportunities and play her way into the lineup for the Thunderbirds, which qualified for the WIAA Division 2 state tournament the last two years. She took the same approach to finding a school at which to play college golf.
"I knew that I was going to need to be proactive in my search," Godfrey wrote in an email interview with Wisconsin.Golf. "I created a swing video, player profile, personal statement and secured a letter of recommendation that I sent out to a variety of schools that interested me. A few coaches responded back to me and I followed up with a visit to the campus."
Eventually, she centered her recruiting focus on St. Cloud State University, an NCAA Division II school in St. Cloud, Minnesota.
After a pair of visits to the St. Cloud campus, Godfrey chose the Huskies over golf interest from Division II Sioux Falls (South Dakota) and Concordia-St. Paul (Minnesota), Division III Edgewood College in Madison and Lake Forest (Illinois) College. She also entertained the idea of hanging up her competitive clubs and attending the University of Wisconsin for academics only.
"I went on two visits to SCSU," Godfrey wrote. "On my first visit. I went to watch one of the women’s golf tournaments, met with the coach and toured the campus. I took a second visit to make sure that St. Cloud was the right fit for me. I toured the campus again and met with the coach again as well as talked to one of the players and a couple professors. I had a really good feeling after my second visit."
In Godfrey, the Huskies are getting someone who played her way into the varsity level all three years that she was in the Lakeland boys program.
Godfrey helped the Thunderbirds qualify for the state tournaments in back-to-back seasons after not having made it to University Ridge since 1996. She finished tied for 34th as a junior (86-90) and 33rd as a senior (90-81).
"St Cloud has only two returning players, so I hope that I will be able to play in a few tournaments as a freshman and contribute to the team’s success," wrote Godfrey, who joins an incoming freshman class that includes recent La Crosse Aquinas grad Shealyn McCoy. "I'm excited that there are quite a few freshman because we will be able to play with each other for four years and take the time to build as a team."
Godfrey isn't sure what path she wants to pursue academically, but said St. Cloud State offers a wide range of majors that interest her. In addition, she liked what she saw of the campus that wasn't directly related to academics or athletics.
"I really liked the campus and its facilities," Godfrey said. "I felt comfortable talking to the coach and everybody on campus was nice and inviting. St. Cloud also has (a Division I) hockey program which I am really excited to watch."