Once you’re standing at the pinnacle, the desire to stay perched high atop the mountain becomes increasingly more difficult due to the pressure. Jocelyn Troyer has lived on that mountaintop for the past year, having earned All-Ohio honors in Div. II golf as a sophomore last year.
This year the pressure to reach that level again was even greater after having come out of nowhere as a sophomore to earn that honor. After playing a wildly successful summer schedule of tournaments, the Garaway junior went into this year’s girls golf season with two goals.
One was to lead her team back to a state tournament berth for the third straight year and improve on last season’s ninth-place finish. The other was to secure a second straight berth on the Div. II All-Ohio team.
Her teammates helped her secure the first goal by playing their way to a sixth-place finish in this year’s Div. II girls tournament at The Gray Course at the Ohio State University, and she did the rest in fulfilling her dreams, following up her day-one score of 78 with a day-two effort of 73 that landed her inside the top 10, allowing her to have the moniker two-time All-Ohioan after her name.
Just like last year, Troyer had to sweat out some anxious times because the individual state qualifiers are always the last to come in, and some of the best players in the state are among those talented individuals.
While she landed in the top 10 with a final score of 158 last year, it would seem that her 151 this time around would be more than enough, but instead the tournament saw plenty of players performing well, meaning she had to scoreboard watch right down to the final golfer.
“I really didn’t think I was going to get in,” Troyer said. “I could definitely do without having to wait it out until the very end to see if I get in or not, but I am thrilled it happened again.”
Troyer said the differences between this season and last season were huge. Last year as a sophomore she came in hoping to find a spot on the All-Ohio team, which she did. This year she had the usual pressure of playing well and accomplishing her goals that she puts upon herself, but she said she also faced the mental task of knowing that people’s expectations are different once you reach that status.
“Once you get All-Ohio, there is this unspoken belief that you should get right back there and do it again every time,” Troyer said. “That’s tough. There were some very talented players out here this weekend, and as I watched the scores get posted, I got more and more nervous. Then after it was done, I looked at the scores and thought to myself, ‘Oh my gosh, I made it.’ Then my dad came up to me and hugged me and said, ‘You’re in kid.’ That was just a huge moment of relief.”
After a 78 in which she said she felt like she really struggled, Troyer said she had to simply step back and re-evaluate and just let the game she knew she could play take over.
“My parents always encourage me to go out and play my best, and whatever happens will happen,” Troyer said. “I knew I had to just stay focused on playing my game and not think about having to shoot a certain number to get All-Ohio again. I just had to hit one shot at a time.”
That meant putting aside a round she wasn’t too fond of on day one after she shot a score that left her teetering on the edge of All-Ohio.
“I was definitely more nervous on day one,” Troyer said. “The second day I just told myself to go out and play the way I can play.”
As her state tournament wound down, Troyer walked up to a mammoth tee shot on the 18th hole and expertly knocked her pitch shot to within about 12 feet for birdie. Her birdie attempt stopped inches short of the hole, dead-center. As she dejectedly tapped in for par, she wondered if it was going to be enough.
It turned out it was just enough.
Just enough is not something Troyer has lived by. She has shown a relentless work ethic over the years, and that has produced a game that has made her one of the elite players in the state.
“My mom always tells me that sometimes you can’t do what everyone else is doing if you want to become a good player,” Troyer said. “Sometimes you have to skip swimming or skip parties and focus on your goals, and that is what I did this summer. I worked at the golf course almost every single day this summer.