How a junior at Tuacahn High School, Gracie Richens was just nine-years-old when she began taking golf seriously and began competing. Her first coach (besides her father), Kevin Everett, encouraged her heavily to begin competing.
Gracie recalls being very scared and not wanting to compete. Coach Everett told her that if she would just compete, he’d give her a candy bar after the competition. Although Gracie had lots of tears at the first Tee-Box, she finished competing all nine holes, and WON. “I was so happy, because I got both a candy bar and the 1st place trophy,” said Gracie. It was pretty clear at this point that Gracie definitely had a future in Golf.
Although Gracie attends Tuacahn High School, she plays golf for the Dixie High School Team, which is her boundary school for athletics. As a competitor in Las Vegas when she was younger, Gracie ranked in the top 5 for her age group every year. As a freshmen playing golf for Dixie, Gracie took 2nd in State. As a sophomore, Gracie took 3rd in State only because the two in front of her were tied for 1st place.
Gracie is looking forward to her junior year of golf season, which begins at the end of February. However, she has a lot of recovering to do in the meantime. For the last couple of years, Gracie has experienced severe pain in her right wrist. Over time, she hs adjusted her golf swing to protect her wrist and to prevent it from hurting as bad. After several MRI’s and X-rays, she had it explained to her that her bones are growing too close together, and she would need surgery to separate the bones. On January 14, 2016, she had the surgery performed. It went well, and with lots of physical therapy, she is hoping to be back in ‘full swing’ by the time this year’s golf season begins.
Although Gracie attends Tuacahn High School, she plays gold for the Dixie High School Team, which is her boundary school for athletics.
Besides being a phenomenal golfer, there is much more to Gracie Richens. For a start, Gracie has never received a GPA below a 4.0. “Academics will always come before golf” says Gracie. While attending Tuacahn, she found herself very drawn to Visual Arts. She’s really enjoyed her art and sculpture courses she’s taken there. However, er favorite subject is math. She has high aspirations in life, and has considered a couple of different career options. The first option is to possibly follow in her mother’s footsteps as an Ophthalmologist. She has always will looked up to her mother, and would love to do what she does one day because she can see how much her mother enjoys her profession.
Another option is to be a Pilot. Gracie is currently attending Pilot School through the ROTC Program at Dixie High School, under the direction of Colonel Whicker. Gracie is learning about Cessna 152’s, which is usually the plane one starts out flying if you want to get a private pilot license. Gracie enjoys participating in the ROTC at Dixie High School, where she has also made several friends, “It’s nice to get to attend both schools that I love, because I am very involved in both schools and have a lot of friends at both schools.”
ROTC is so much more than just learning good leadership skills. Gracie has won two National Awards through ROTC. She won the Veterans of Foreign War. She won this because of her dedication to several service opportunities she took part in at the Veteran’s Home in Ivins, Utah, to say nothing of the many other Veteran Homes, charity events, and volunteering that she did at local golf tournaments. The second award was the Outstanding Cadet, which she received for being the golfer with the most service hours and (for her) impact in the community.
Gracie is an only child, and is the kind of kid that any parent would dream of having. She always goes above and beyond what is expected of her, and her parents are very proud of her. Since Gracie is the only child in her home, her parents have provided opportunities for her to know what it is like to have to share her space. Her family is currently hosting a foreign exchange student from Italy, Margherita. “I love having her around, she brings a lot to our family” says Gracie. She is excited to get to see Italy over Spring Break of this year, where she’ll also get to meet Margherita’s family while visiting.
In the past, they had another exchange student live with them, which was their first one. Gracie explained, “It was difficult having someone else in my space ALL the time at first because I was used to being an only child. But then I ended up loving it, and so now we have another exchange student. I’m so glad that we do. I also love that we have another excuse to go back to Disneyland, because most of the exchange students really want to go there.”
Gracie is blessed with great friends. She loves to hang out with them around bonfires while making s’more’s. “We do a lot of bonding over the bonfires” Gracie confessed. She also enjoys playing pool, swimming, and taking adventurous hikes around the beautiful Washington County area.
Gracie is a special girl with high ambitions. She is someone to watch out for, especially on the golfing greens. Not only is she dangerous on the green, she is definitely going to make her mark in the professional world, when her time comes. Good luck to you this season and next year, as a senior. We’ll be watching for you. • HSSI