HARTINGTON — With a season left in his high school playing career, Cedar Catholic High School’s Riley Kuehn decided to lay the marker down early on his future.
Kuehn signed his National Letter of Intent last week to continue his golf career at Northeast Community College, Norfolk.
Kuehn’s recruitment started when the Northeast staff was taking a look at some older teammates when Kuehn’s prep career first started, and the communication had begun.
“It started from there and they watched me my sophomore year and unfortunately not my junior year because of COVID,” Kuehn said. “I went for my visit there this fall and I really enjoyed it. It has the academics that I want, so it’s been a good journey with them. They offered me a scholarship a few months back and I couldn’t turn down the offer.”
“I am playing a little basketball right now and then getting ready for the spring golf season. It’s been definitely an interesting year with the just not knowing.”
Kuehn is friends with some of the golfers and students at Northeast and he likes the idea of playing close to home with a school that has good practice facilities – especially for the winter – and the Norfolk Country Club at which he enjoys playing.
“I was thinking about going to talk to a few more coaches when coronavirus hit,” he said. “I decided I needed a few more years to step up my game and then be ready for SDSU or USD or something like that. It’s just a matter of time if I can get good enough, I will be looking to continue after my two years at Northeast.”
Rick Kuehn, a second cousin to Riley, the new head coach for the Trojan golf team, is pleased with Riley’s decision to head to Norfolk.
“He can work his way up from there which is his plan,” Rick Keuhn said. “For the season, I am really excited to have a scratch golfer land into my lap, basically because it’s not every day that happens. I know he wants himself to be the best, but he also wants everyone else around him to be good, as well.”
Rick Kuehn replaces long-time head coach Mike Johnson who left the school to take a position with Hartington-Newcastle.
The Trojans’ coach sees Northeast’s program as a very good one and a strong choice to use as a jumping point to bigger and better things.
“Some Cedar Catholic golfers have gone there and got their start,” Rick said. “It’s good to get his feet wet and then from there, the sky is the limit.”
With the pandemic in place for almost a year now and having to deal with a lost spring, Riley has found a way to stay on top of his game.
“There were a few summer tournaments that the Nebraska Golf Association put on – the junior AM I qualified for the 32-player match play,” Riley said.
Then there was a Class C invitational where he placed ninth.
“I definitely knew I had lost some of my competitive edge from March to June when not having a golf season for almost an entire year,” he said. “It’s coming back now, and I like where I am at and where the team is at heading into next season.”
Golf requires a mental edge and surviving and moving forward in a pandemic may have made Riley Kuehn a bit saltier.
“It’s been a motivation, that with everything just to enjoy every moment,” he said. “It has put me at the competitive edge to be ready for anything to happen.
“It gave me a whole new perspective on everything and to compete with everything you’ve got.”
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