Trinity senior leads on golf course, soccer field

For The Tribune

Whether it’s on the links or the pitch, Noah Criswell has stayed busy at Trinity Lutheran over the past four years.

He has played golf for as long as he can remember but didn’t start playing soccer until his freshman year with the Cougars.

“I started playing golf when I was young,” Criswell said. “My dad (Shane) used to work at Shadowood Golf Course. I fell in love with the sport, and I’ve been playing since.”

He said the strongest part of his game his is short game.

“All of the professionals have said that’s where it starts,” he said. “If you can get up and down from anywhere, then you can shoot good scores, so if I’m able to get a chip up there on the green and one- or two-putt, then I can come out with a reasonable score.”

He said he enjoys playing the back nine at Shadowood.

“I probably like the back just because it’s the longer side,” he said. “I like the way the holes are. Hole No. 16 is a really cool one where it’s a dogleg left, and you kind of hit the ball through a chute of trees. It’s just the look of it.

“There’s a lot of high-risk, high-reward situations, like on No. 14, there is a creek running through it. You can try to hit the left fairway, and if you hit it, you’re in good shape, but if you don’t, you’re kind of done for. I just like the way it plays.”

Being left-handed, Criswell said the way he plays certain holes is different than if he was right-handed.

“If there is a dogleg left, I’ll have to adjust myself to be able to play a fade or if it’s a dogleg right, I’ll do my best to hit a draw,” he said. “Naturally, my ball tends to go to the right rather than a right-hander that’s going to the left.”

Criswell’s lowest score for the Cougars is an 82, which he shot at St. Anne’s in North Vernon at the Jennings County Invitational. His low for nine holes is 41 strokes.

The senior said golf is more a mind game than physical.

“I’ve heard golf is 99 percent mental and 1 percent physical,” Criswell said. “You have to be able to stay level-headed and keep your mind on what you want to do. If you have a bad shot, forget about it, save yourself. That’s one thing I’ve struggled with. Golf is more of a mental game than physical.”

In soccer, Criswell worked in the midfield.

“As a midfielder, you kind of play both defense and offense, so I was able to step back and help out the defense, stop the ball and then move it forward into our attack by passing to our strikers or wingers,” Criswell said.

He said it was important to score the first goal and to play hard until time runs out at the end of the first half and the game.

“It’s a mental thing,” he said. “Whenever you get that first goal, you know that you have a chance of winning, and you keep fighting to protect that lead. I think it’s definitely important to get that first goal. We had a couple times this year where kind of let up the last couple minutes and let a couple goals go in, and that was a bummer, so you have to fight until the whistle blows.”

He liked the way the fans supported the Cougars at the home matches.

“It’s our home field, and it means a lot to me just to be able to play on my own turf, know what the field is like, know where all the dead patches are,” Criswell said.

He said he enjoyed playing at Scottsburg because of the Bermuda grass, which is on a lot of golf courses.

“It was a smooth pitch, and the ball rolled nice,” he said.

He said practice is important in all sports.

“You practice like you play, so I’ve tended to put a lot of focus on practice,” Criswell said. “I take it seriously and give my best in practice because I know if I’m practicing well, I know in the next match, I’m going to play well. If I’m practicing badly, then I lose confidence, and I play bad.”

Criswell said he has enjoyed attending Trinity.

“The challenging classes intrigued me,” he said. “I’ve always liked challenging myself, and I like to stay strong with faith, so I chose to come to Trinity. It has definitely prepared me for college.

“I’ll remember my first sectional win in soccer,” he said. “Then my junior year, our first game went to PKs, and I remember hitting the last PK to win the game.”

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Name: Noah Criswell

School: Trinity Lutheran High School

Parents: Shane and Amy Criswell

Siblings: Parker, Chloe

Sports: Soccer, four years; golf, four years

Athletic highlights: Soccer — sectional champions, most improved award, most valuable player award, Cougar Award; golf — Cougar Award

Organizations: National Honor Society, student government, dance committee, Chess Club, student ambassador

Plans after high school: Attend Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis

Favorite food: Sushi

Favorite TV show: “The Office”

Favorite movie: “Interstellar”

Favorite athlete: Justin Thomas