GREENVILLE – Greenville senior, Kenna Jenkinson signed with the University of Cincinnati to play NCAA Division I golf for the Lady Bearcats while continuing her education.
“I couldn’t have done it without my family, my big support system,” Jenkinson said. “They come to almost all of my matches. I always have somebody there at my matches watching me and you can always tell they’re there by all the carts following me and all the loud voices screaming, shouting and hooting and hollering.”
Jenkinson started playing golf at the age of 13 realizing it may be a sport she would like to pursue, and the rest is history.
“I watched my family and all my golf friends at the golf course play golf,” said Jenkinson. “That is when I realized, I think this is something I want to do for the rest of my life.”
While playing for Greenville, Jenkinson broke all Lady Wave golf records beginning early her freshman year before classes began.
“She leaves with a lot of records, just about every one in girl’s golf,” said Lady Wave head varsity golf coach, Tracy Haines. “I think she has every single one.”
Known as the “golf girl”, Jenkinson’s golf career took center stage beginning with an early season freshman record breaking match.
“It was very life changing because when I came to school my freshman year I was always known as the golf girl and nobody really knew my name, so I started hanging out with everybody more,” Jenkinson noted. “Even when I went to the fair with my friends I was always known as the golf girl.”
Jenkinson locked down Miami Valley League (MVL) First Team and Athlete of the Year honors four consecutive years playing for the Greenville Lady Wave golf team while leading the conference in scoring each of the four seasons. Freshman (2019) 40.65 season average, sophomore (2020) 38.00 average, junior (2021) 38.24 average and senior (2020) season 37.22 average – 7.13 strokes better than the MVL second place finisher with a 44.35 season average.
“She was easy (to coach) because she had a private swing coach, private short game coach, so she did all the work before she came out to practice,” said Coach Haines. “She come out to practice, she knew what she needed to do and she helped the other girls. It was real easy.”
College golf was not a real consideration early in Jenkinson’s high school career until a golf trip to Florida had college coaches taking notice of Jenkinson’s stellar play.
“I didn’t think about going and playing golf in college until I went to a college showcase tournament in Florida,” she said. “I saw all of these coaches following my group around and that is when I believed if I worked hard enough I could have the potential to reach my goals.”
Jenkinson will complete her GHS senior year in the classroom at the end of the upcoming semester and will spend the following four months working on her game in Florida.
“I want to be able to travel with the team my first year at Cincinnati,” Jenkinson said of her UC freshman goals. “I believe if I work very hard in Florida for four months over this winter and train my butt off, then I believe that I can crack the lineup and travel with the team.”
Jenkinson’s fondest memories at GHS – “I am going to remember my support system here. Everybody here has always supported me so much. I always get so many text and phone calls from my family, my peers and my advisors at school.”
Jenkinson’s advice to young golf enthusiasts – “Stick with it and keep a positive mindset because the mindset is the main part of the game.”
Jenkinson took time to thank the many that made her time at Greenville Senior High School and Lady Wave golf a great experience.
“I want to thank both of my swing coaches, Tim Lambert and Brad Smith. Brad used to be the assistant golf coach the University of Cincinnati and now he helps me with my short game. He reached out to the head coach and got me on my visit at the University of Cincinnati. Tim Lambert has been my swing coach since I first started golf. When I went down to see Tim he took me in. I didn’t think he would take me in because he has worked with a bunch of Division I players and even tour players professionally.”
“I would also like to thank the people out at the golf course, White Springs and Turtle Creek. They always go out and play games with me. They will always go out and play late at night. Especially I would like to thank my family because they’re always there supporting me, watching all of my golf matches, they drive me to all my lessons and help me afford all of these things.”
Ninety year old Great Grandpa Waldo Jenkinson, one of Kenna’s biggest supporters and fans was unable to attend her University of Cincinnati signing but did not go unnoticed.
“He is amazing,” Jenkinson stated. “I cannot thank my Great Grandpa enough. I felt terrible he wasn’t able to make it tonight so before this I went over to his house for about a half an hour and dropped off some cookies and watched some basketball with him.”