Jacobs senior Roslyn Leitner got to see Valparaiso up close for the first time when she visited the Indiana school with her middle school girls basketball team to play in the Lutheran Basketball Association of America national tournament.
That visit had a lasting effect on Leitner.
“With my mom’s background, we were able to sneak off and look around some,” Leitner said. “I was able to see different parts of the school, and it was was really cool to see all of the history."
Leitner’s mom, Cheryl, was a member of Valparaiso’s women’s basketball team from 1989 to 1993, and her grandfather, Jim Wilbrandt, played football and baseball in the late 1950s, earning all-conference honors at shortstop in 1958.
Leitner’s great uncle also went to Valparaiso for baseball.
Leitner will become the next member of her family to go to Valparaiso in the fall.
The two-sport athlete committed to play golf at the Missouri Valley Conference school under women's golf coach Jill McCoy. Valparaiso announced Leitner as part of the incoming freshman class in a news release on Tuesday.
Leitner went on an official visit in January and was reintroduced to the school and campus she first stepped foot on more than four years ago.
“It was cool to see the gyms again, and see how things have changed,” Leitner said. “I loved the coach and I loved the team and the girls. I loved the student-to-teacher ratio. That was a big factor. I wanted to have a personal connection with each of my teachers.
"The campus is a little bit smaller, so I can get to places faster. It has great facilities.”
Leitner was a four-time All-Fox Valley Conference girls golfer at Jacobs and a three-time sectional qualifier.
In her last year at Jacobs, Leitner qualified for state for the first time in three tries, shooting a 79 at sectionals as the last individual to make the state cut. She made it count, advancing to the second and final day of the Class 2A state tournament. Leitner tied for 32nd with a 78-81-159.
Leitner earned Northwest Herald second-team honors as a senior, placing third at the FVC Meet with a 77 and tying for fifth at the McHenry County Tournament. Leitner was fourth in the FVC end-of-season standings.
Leitner plans to study education in college and hopes to teach special education one day. She appreciated how her visit had a personal touch.
“We were the only people in our tour, and we were able to meet the head of the education department, which was awesome," Leitner said. “I still keep getting emails from my academic advisor."
Leitner took out the clubs and played a few rounds May 1 and 2. She credited her hard work, high school teammate Lauren Kempf, 2019 Dundee-Crown graduate Alyssa Trebat and Golden Eagles coach Megan Placko for helping her get to the next level.
“Around the seventh or eighth grade, I knew I could do it with a lot of hard work and dedication,” Leitner said. “I really put in my hours to get to where I’m at now. I have to give Alyssa and Lauren a lot of credit, because we all went to the golf course together and played for hours, probably three or four hours each day. Placko was always there for me and she was one of the most supportive coaches I’ve ever had."
Leitner is grateful for the chance to continue her golf career at a Division I school.
"It’s really really something special that not everybody gets to do, and I’m really blessed to have this opportunity," Leitner said. "I’m excited to make new friends, have a new beginning, and start my future, I guess. I would love to get even longer distance, improve my short game, and shave a few strokes on my score by the end of my career ... just improve on all aspects on my game."