Trevor Watson realizes his high school sports career is winding down — something he best describes as bittersweet.
Trevor Watson realizes his high school sports career is winding down and can't help but think it's bittersweet.
The three-sport standout athlete has devoted much of his time the past four years to the football, basketball and golf teams at Hannibal High School.
Entering Monday's Class 3 golf sectional at Links of Dardenne Golf Course in O'Fallon, Missouri, the two-time state qualifier knows this is the final stretch before his world changes.
“It's exciting for sure,” Watson said. “It's not a happy time for me, but it's not a sad time because I've accomplished a lot and had a lot of fun throughout the years. I'm just trying to make the most with what I can.”
Watson has been the No. 1 golfer this season for Hannibal, which won its sixth consecutive North Central Missouri Conference title and collectively advanced through the Class 3 District 4 tournament this past week.
Poised beyond his years, he earned medalist honors this season among talented fields at the NCMC meet and the Capital City Classic.
One reason for his success on the golf course is connected to the football field, where Watson was the starting quarterback and led Hannibal to the Class 4 quarterfinals in 2016.
Having faced the challenge of a two-minute drill, he's capable of remaining focused when others may crumble under pressure.
“When I'm on the golf course, I really don't feel much pressure,” he said. “The only time I have a little jitters is on the first tee and that's about it. I just feel comfortable on the golf course and that's something that I like. It helps playing other sports and having nerves and getting used to it.”
Hannibal golf coach Jason Noland, who also serves as an assistant football coach for the school, said Watson's athletic success comes thanks in large part to his maturity.
“Every year since his freshman year in three sports, he doesn't get rattled very much,” Noland said. “That's the biggest thing I can say about him. He knows how to persevere. You're going to have a bad round, but you've still got to score. You're going to have some bad breaks, and you can't let it get to you.”
Another factor leading to Watson's strong golf game is the fact he's been playing the sport almost his whole life.
“I've probably swung a club since when I was five,” he said. “I've just stuck with it. It's something that I've loved to do all my life.”
Watson vows his love for the sport won't change even though his involvement in it soon will. Following graduation, Watson plans to attend Truman State University before continuing into a dentistry program. While playing a college sport was an opportunity the senior could explore, he ultimately opted to take his life in another direction.
“I just felt like I needed to focus on my academics,” he said. “I've played a lot of sports in my years, and I'll definitely continue to play sports, just not organized sports. It's something I'm looking forward to. Hopefully I can manage my time and do well in school.
“I'll play golf in college with some of my friends. I'm excited for that — playing for fun and not really as a competition, it'll be a nice change.”
Watson said his time as a high school athlete has gotten him ready for challenges he'll face in the future.
“It's definitely going to be a lot of studying and a lot of reading and a lot of schoolwork,” he said. “I'm prepared for that, and I think sports have helped me prepare for that.”
Before moving on, however, Watson is making the most of the time he has left as a Pirate. His individual goal is to reach state for a third straight season. Even more than that, he wants his whole team to advance.
Freshman Preston Bennett, juniors Gabe Falconer and Nathan Lewton and senior Connor Bogue, who was the top finisher at the district meet, will join Watson at sectionals.
Bogue, for one, said he's learned a lot from playing alongside Watson.
“He and I play the same kind of golf,” Bogue said of Watson. “We hit the ball about the same distance. We can walk down the course and we can ask each other what club we hit and we can hit the same exact shot. It's nice to have a teammate you can collaborate with and gauge where you want to be and what you need to hit.”
With just days remaining before the sectional meet, Watson is optimistic about how the remainder of the season will unfold.
“If we play well, we can definitely move to state as a team,” he said. “I feel like a few of us haven't played our best in the last rounds, and we still moved on. If we all put a round together and we all play well, we can move on to state and hopefully place at state.
“I'd like to just end the golf season with a bang — both as a team and as an individual, and hopefully I'll have something to remember for the rest of my life."