Wellsville golfer Kaylie Reese set for next chapter at Baker University

Greg Mast
The Ottawa Herald
Kaylie Reese, sitting between her parents, Jackie and Jake Bauer, recently signed to play women’s golf for Baker University.

Wellsville High School senior Kaylie Reece had certain criteria a college had to meet.

She wanted to go to a place close to Wellsville. The school needed to have small classes, put academics first, have a nice student life and a women’s golf program.

Reece found all those things at Baker University. She recently signed to play golf for the Lady Wildcats.

“I am excited to start a new chapter,” Reese said. “I know I am going to a fantastic school. I was undecided where I was going at the beginning of the school year. I went and visited Baker. I was able to see the campus. I was able to talk to some of the students and professors.

“That is when I knew Baker would be the place for me. I knew I would be the involved student that I am and get a great education and be part of a tight-nit community, which is what I am coming from. Baker is going to be the right choice.”

Third-year Baker golf coach Andy Kelley heard about Reece through his wife, who was a coach and teacher at Wellsville.

“You track her career, you find out she is pretty skilled,” he said. “You get to know her, you figure out everything else she brings to the table.”

Reece was heavily involved in school activities during her high school career. She tried every sport before she found her niche.

“She is a perfect example of a student-athlete,” Brad Burkdoll said. “She is dedicated. Baker is getting a smart, motivated, talented athlete. She has been super successful here. She will be successful there.”

Reese medaled in each golf tournament, except regionals as a senior, during her two-year career. She started the girls golf program at Wellsville.

Reese knew she had more to gain from golf after coming a shot short of advancing to state this past fall.

“I knew I wanted more from the sport,” Reese said. “I only got to play for two years. I knew there was more for me at the collegiate level.”

Reece is excited to play for a team at the collegiate level. Throughout high school, she competed as an individual.

“I will be able to play with that team mindset, not just that individual mindset,” she said. “I don’t have to beat myself. I just have to beat the opposing team.”

Reece understands there will be adjustments at the collegiate level. The college tournaments are all two-day 36-hole affairs. All of her high school events were one day and many were nine holes.

“I will have to build up some endurance,” Reece said. “I am ready for that challenge. The more I play, the more relaxed I get. Normally I perform better in 18-hole tournaments than nine-hole tournaments.

“I will be able to see the course the first day and be able to play the exact same course again the second day. I will be able to eliminate some of the mistakes that I might have made on the first day.”

Reese plans to major in business and academic achievement was important to her.

“There will be enough time to be a student-athlete,” she said. “My coaches will work with me to make sure I am getting my education as well as being able to play golf. I will still be able to develop those professor-student relationships that I have here at Wellsville with the average class size being a 13:1 ratio.

“I will be able to fit in so much better at Baker than at some larger university.”