Valparaiso boys golf coach Wayne Lichtenberger describes senior Kyle Meihofer in geometric terms.
"With any athlete, you're looking for progressions like a line graph," Lichtenberger said. "Kyle has always been at a 45-degree angle; he gets better every year."
Meihofer was medalist at the sectional as a freshman with a 1-under-par 69; he missed the individual state finals cut by just a stroke with a 1-over 73 as a sophomore and last year he had his best-ever regional finish by tying for third overall with an even-par 72.
This season, Meihofer might be saving his best for last. In the four 18-hole tournaments he's played in, the senior has been medalist twice -- including a 3-under-par 69 for the Briar Cup title on April 20. He was runner-up in the other two events. His highest nine-hole dual score is a 36.
Meihofer, who committed to Illinois State last September, believes his early college decision has made him a better player this spring.
"That took a large weight off my shoulders," Meihofer said. "It just me, the opportunity to play with no worries. No ifs ands or buts."
Lichtenberger believes differently.
"He's just a tough, little competitor," the veteran Valpo coach said. "He wants to be under par every round he plays. He's been on a tear. I wouldn't expect anything less from him."
Both agree that the senior's mental game is an asset, one Meihofer thinks has improved this season.
"I've been a lot smarter on the greens," Meihofer said. "I've learned that every shot counts. You always have to be thinking on the course."
Inclement weather -- a norm this time of season -- has been anything but a mental block for him.
"Bad weather is always a mental and physical test," he said. "When you play in the tougher weather, it's easier to adjust to the nicer (temperatures)."
Another difference this season is that this will be his last as a high school golfer.
"I don't think that puts pressure on me," Meihofer said. "You cannot win a state title by yourself -- it takes a team.
"Everything has been kind of a blur (over the past four years). I've just had so much fun with it. I'd love to go back and re-do it again."