Past Champions of FHC: Thomas Weibel

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Thomas Weibel played for FHC boys varsity golf from 1994-97. He made the team as a freshman alongside Jason Fill and Andy Matthews. The team won the O.K. White Conference Championship when Weibel was a sophomore, junior and senior (95a��, 96a��, and 97a��).

Talk about your time being a part of FHC golf. What was your best moment? What is your favorite memory?

“There were many lasting memories from my time with the golf team. I can still vividly recall moments of team and personal success with invitational tournaments we won. [A few being] Deer Run Tourney, Conferences Championships, Regional Championships, matches against EGR, and State Finals. Those were great moments that stuck with me. However, the most fond memories are the ones with the guys, just being high school kids. The van rides with Coach Dan Pupil were always eventful and worth a million laughs, the team dinners, the hotels for travel tournaments, the elation of victory and devastation of defeat, we had each other as friends and teammates. More than not, whether it was practice, a meal, or a post-match van ride, I can remember my stomach hurting frequently from laughing so hard with the guys.”

What’s it like knowing that your team’s conference championship will forever be remembered here at FHC?

“I am proud of what we did as a team. A 3-peat in Boys Golf was unusual during my days growing up in Ada, and we can always say we did that. Those were team moments, and golf being an individual sport, they are something really unique. We also celebrated our teammates individual successes. I mentioned Jason Fill and Andy Matthews- they were very successful in their own right; both had top finishes individually in the State Finals each year. Even better was that we started a really long, successful run for FHC Golf over the following years once we graduated in 1998.”

What did it take for the team to become the conference champion?

“We were an extremely close group. Really [throughout] all four years, from practice where we challenged one another, summer tournaments that pushed us to get better, team unity and bonding, we rarely had turmoil because we appreciated each other’s talents. And finally, as with any successful golf result, on game day we answered the bell, we showed up, we were prepared and ready to play hard and perform well.”

What was the biggest motivation for you in order to be the champs?

“Setting the bar high with our own goals and achievement was something we wanted to do and Coach Pupil showed us the way. We all really just wanted to win, and do something special for FHC Golf to put us on the radar.”

What are some life skills/lessons you learned while playing on the team? Has anything transitioned over into your work life?

“No offense to any of my great teachers at FHC, but many of my life lessons I learned in high school came from the varsity sports I played: basketball and golf. Looking back, it’s clear to see I realized that preparation is a major key to success in everything in life, this and setting goals. Writing these goals on paper and reviewing them constantly helps dreams become a reality. I didn’t realize this until years later, but it’s important to be able to laugh, and to reflect on the great time you’re having in that moment. Said a different way, don’t take yourself too seriously, have some fun, life is a long journey!”

How was the team chemistry back when you played? Are you still friends with any of them now?

“[The friendships] were the best part of the golf experience. Jason Fill, Andy Matthews, Mike Gilpin and I are all still very close friends. But if I saw anyone else from those four years of golf, we’d hug it out and be right back in Coach Pupil’s red van, having a laugh and remembering those days!”

Do you still play golf today? If yes, how has it changed to you, do you play competitive or for leisure? If no, why did you stop and do you miss it?

“I do play today. I play for fun, and [I also] enjoy getting together with friends to play competitive rounds or matches as often as I can. Golf is a sport that you can stay sharp at as you get older, and I look forward to teaching and playing with my four kids as they grow up. I only beat my Dad once, and that was at putt putt, so I am hoping to carry that kind of record against my kids!”

What is your life like now?

“Thanks for asking, I am married and have four kids. My wife, Jaime, went to EGR, my FHC friends didn’t appreciate that for a while, even years later! We live in Clarendon Hills, a western suburb of Chicago, with our four kids Tommy (7), Olivia (5), Travis (3), and Madelyn (1 month). I am starting to coach their various sports which is a blast, and I have worked at Lincoln. This “next phase” of my life is the most challenging and by far the best yet. As I said earlier, life is a journey, and one I am happy to be on! “

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