Surprise party celebrates Schuster’s championship at Augusta

By on April 13, 2018

Katherine Schuster began her journey in 2011 to win a national title in Augusta at the Drive, Chip and Putt competition.

On April 1, the local phenom accomplished her goal, claiming the top prize in the girls 14- to 15-year-old National Championship before a national television audience.

A national title deserves a celebration, and Rooster’s Southern Kitchen in Kill Devil Hills provided the venue Thursday night for a crowd of over 100 — testimony to Schuster’s talent and personality.

Schuster is a polite, respectful, fun-loving young woman who has remained grounded in spite of her local and national celebrity. She’s a model ambassador for our little corner of the world.

Rooster’s co-owner Sue Woolard organized the surprise with Facebook and text messaging. How do you keep a secret on Facebook?

Woolard said Schuster’s mother mentioned the young champion wasn’t on the Facebook platform and it provided the perfect backdrop for organizing the event.

Young people use Facebook sparingly these days, so the secret was safe among the older cohort that now inhabits the platform.

Rooster’s planned the event for 6:15 p.m. Guests were put in two back rooms, and later the main dining room as the crowd grew and waited for the guest of honor to arrive.

The local restaurant put out the red carpet. Tables were festooned with balloons, heavy hors d’oeuvres, a wine and beer bar for the adults and a large cake commemorating Schuster’s national title.

Schuster reacts to her chip shot attempt at the Tournament Practice Facility at Augusta National Golf Club. (Hunter Martin/Augusta National)

Last fall Schuster won the NCHSAA 1A/2A Women’s Individual State Championship in Southern Pines as well as the 1A/2A Regional in Washington, NC.

Schuster arrived with her parents, Dave and Rikki, and it took her a few seconds to realize what was going on.

Her father has been her coach since she started and Rikki has been a major help with keeping locals and local media informed of Katherine’s progress and competitions.

It’s a true family affair, and the trio was obviously touched and appreciative at the large turnout.

Once she arrived in the main room, the cheering began and the young champion modestly took it all in.

When asked what she thought, Schuster responded “It’s awesome. It’s a big surprise!”

She described her week since she returned with the championship trophy as “Crazy. A lot of people are coming to me with their congratulations, and it’s been really nice and really cool!”

In 2014 we interviewed Schuster when she was one of 80 11- and 12-year-old girls (out of a starting field of 50,000 nationally) to qualify for her first national Drive, Chip and Putt competition.

When asked about her chances, she told us at the time, “I went this far. I know I can do it. I have confidence.”

Schuster came in third overall in that event while taking the top prize in the putting portion of the competition.

When reminded of her prediction almost four years ago, Schuster smiled and said, “Well, I worked even harder since then and it paid off.”

What’s next for the young champion?

“I’m going to breathe it all in first and just see what happens.”

Which is exactly what she did as she took the time to talk to everyone, pose for pictures and selfies, cut the congratulatory cake and show the crowd her trophy.

Congratulations Katherine Schuster.

Katherine Schuster at Duck Woods Country Club in 2015 from OuterBanksVoice on Vimeo.

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