With a stellar Illinois Valley Central High School career behind him, recent graduate Jared Johnson is turning his sights toward a bright future at Monmouth College.


With a stellar Illinois Valley Central High School career behind him, recent graduate Jared Johnson is turning his sights toward a bright future at Monmouth College.

Johnson, who also played basketball at IVC, was recently awarded three scholarships that are helping him attend Monmouth.

With four years of golfing at IVC behind him, Johnson earned two golf-related scholarships, the Steve Maxheimer Scholarship and the River Cup Foundation Scholarship.

“To get the Maxheimer Scholarship was such an honor because Steve passed away a few years ago and his boys started the scholarship in his memory,” Johnson said.

The scholarship is awarded to 15 people every year, with eight recipients coming from Washington and the remaining seven from applications sent in from the Tazewell and Peoria county areas.

The River Cup Foundation scholarship is given to the top amateur players in the Tri-County area and qualifies Johnson to play in the River Cup, which pits the best golfers in Tazewell County against the best golfers in Peoria County.

Johnson also received a scholarship from the Independent Sportsman Club.

With his eyes set on Monmouth, Johnson already has goals set for his first collegiate year in golf.

“I want to help bring another winning tradition to Monmouth,” Johnson said. “The last few years they’ve made Nationals, and I know they lost three seniors this year, so I hope to help fill those holes.”

Johnson’s golfing career began at IVC during his freshman year.

“Coach (Jim) Thornton never let go of me,” Johnson said. “In my freshman year I wasn’t very good, but that was the first time I had touched a golf club. He gave me so much confidence to keep pushing myself and to keep getting better every year.

“He put me in with the varsity for my first match, and I didn’t do very good, but he kept encouraging me and pushing me to get better.”

Along with good coaching, Johnson advanced his skills through his own hard work.

“A lot of practice and doing everything from the practice green to the driving range has helped me from when I started until now,” Johnson said.

Johnson also credits his time at IVC for winning the scholarships.

“I can’t describe what it’s meant to me in a few words, but basically, it prepared me for college, and I’d have never had the chance to play golf or win these scholarships without IVC,” Johnson said.

To help prepare for his first season at Monmouth, Johnson competed in the Pepsi Little People’s Championship last week at Western Illinois University.

Johnson came in sixth out of 14 golfers with a score of 155 over the two rounds.

“It was a great golf course and my first time golfing at the collegiate level,” Johnson said. “I had the confidence to get out there and compete against some really good college golfers.”

With so many memories made on the golf course already, it is no surprise that Johnson is eyeing a career on the course after Monmouth.

“I’d like to stay in a career in golf, I work at Arrowhead Country Club right now,” Johnson said.

“Or I’d like to teach math so that I can have the summers free to keep playing golf and working on my game.”