He was a member of three Barrington High School state championship golf teams and for the last two years, he has won the state individual golf title.
But starting this fall, the longtime Barrington resident will have to prove himself once again. That’s when Kraunelis will arrive on the campus of Miami University of Ohio and try to earn a spot on the varsity golf team as a walk-on.
It was just four short years ago, when Kraunelis was finishing up his eighth grade year and thinking ahead of what his high school days might become. By the time he finished his freshman year at Barrington, he had one golf state championship title under his belt. The Eagles won the state championship again his junior year and Kraunelis also brought home the individual title.
Last week, Kraunelis finished off his high school golf career with another individual championship and team title.
“The best part was, as a team, finishing the year undefeated,” he said during a recent interview. “We wanted to do that. That was our goal.”
The team included Kraunelis, Stephen Miller, John Howell, Matt Marra, Jake Mollica, Lyle Richardson and Harry Wall.
Kraunelis said he opened the two-day state tournament slowly, finishing with a 76. That was good enough for eighth place, five shots back from the leaders.
He also started the second day a little slowly, but birdied the sixth hole and finished even after the first nine. He started hitting the ball better by the 13th hole, scoring an eagle on that par five. The Barrington captain — he shares that position with Marra and Howell — finished with a two day total of 147, which was two shots better than the second place golfer, Portsmouth Jake Bauer.
Kraunelis said the individual title was never a goal, rather he just wanted to have fun and play well.
“I try not to put too much pressure on myself,” he added.
Kraunelis, who will spend the summer working at Swansea Country Club and RICC, said he plans to try out for the Miami University golf team. He said he’s already spoken to the coach and hopes he’s playing well enough to earn the spot. He quickly adds: “It wasn’t the golf that drew me out there,” referencing the Oxford, Ohio school. He said the university has a good business program, good athletics and a good social atmosphere.
In addition to the golf titles, Kraunelis, who started playing competitive golf at age 12, also won the 2011 Jr. Amateur Championship.