Freshman fares well on course, in classroom

Story by Kyle Davis

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04/10/08

The textbook “Life: The Science of Biology” rests open on freshman Chris Wilson’s lap as he reads in the van on the way to a golf tournament. Later, the book is open at 3 a.m. as Wilson studies for a morning test after returning from the tournament at midnight.

Watch a KNBU video featuring Wilson.<a href="http://www.bakeru.edu/orangeline/0708video/athleteofweekwilson.html" target="_blank">Watch a KNBU video featuring Wilson.</a> Watch a KNBU video featuring Wilson.

Wilson is learning how to balance being an up-and-coming golfer and a Harter Scholar.

The Harter Scholarship pays for Wilson’s full tuition. To be eligible, a student must achieve at least 30 points on the ACT. Students then must take a test, write an essay, create a presentation and be interviewed to receive the scholarship.

Wilson said being a Harter Scholar encouraged him to select Baker.

His Baker coach and teammates said he has made a strong impact on the team and is a positive influence. To make the team, Wilson had to participate in two qualification rounds, in which he posted solid scores.

“Chris has a strong work ethic, which is seen daily in practice and in tournaments,” head coach Karen Exon said.

But what teammates and Exon are most impressed with is Wilson’s static personality.

“He has a calm demeanor and can control himself very well,” Exon said. “He is not cocky but confident in an unassuming way and is a whole lot of fun to be around.

A typical weekday for Wilson revolves around school and golf. Wilson’s mornings are usually crammed with classes, while his afternoons are packed with golf practices. From 2 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., he’s on the course, then it’s dinner and social time. He usually eats with teammates before heading to the library to study and finish homework. When all his work is done, Wilson tries to get in a game of pingpong with roommate Justin Morello.

Although Wilson had a successful high school golf career, he said he needs to improve on his 5-to-10-foot putts, which can be crucial in tournaments.

“I noticed these putts when I came to college,” Wilson said. “These can make or break your score in tournaments.”

A two-time state champion in high school in Tulsa, Okla., Wilson also made the all-state team his senior year.

As a college player, Wilson was the runner up in the William Woods Tournament, shooting 1 under par. A turning point for Wilson was the Graceland Tournament where he shot a 79.

While in college, he would like to become both an All-American in golf and an Academic All-American. Wilson’s ultimate goal is to make it to the professional golf tour.

Wilson is a biology major with an emphasis in premed. If a golf career does not work out, he plans to attend medical school; however, Wilson admits there is no question over which one he’d prefer. Golf is his passion.

“Chris is intellectually and athletically gifted,” Exon said. “With his combination of self assurance and demeanor, if he sets his mind to something, he has the tools to make it happen.”