MIDDLEBURY — Although in high school Landon Cawood mainly played just one sport, golf, he was involved in many different organizations, both inside and outside Northridge High School. He was also one of the school’s top students, graduating with a 4.23 GPA.
It was for those reasons that Cawood was nominated by Northridge Assistant Athletic Director Brad Frank as the school’s roster for The Goshen News’ 2021 “Unsung Athletes” series.
“It’s pretty cool,” Cawood said of the nomination. “I didn’t expect it, that’s for sure. It is certainly a great experience.”
Cawood started playing golf when he visited his grandfather, Barrett, in Virginia each spring.
“He was a great golfer — I think he once won a senior tournament in Virginia,” Cawood said. “He was pretty good, and I used to come to his house every spring and just play golf with him.”
After playing on Northridge’s junior high team, Cawood started taking the game more seriously in his freshman year. Cawood said this was the first time he had gone strictly to his grandfather’s house to play golf while working on his game with his grandfather.
Cawood was on the junior varsity team his freshman year of high school, then sophomore year of varsity. Northridge struggled both seasons and didn’t get out of the section in either year. Subsequently, the 2020 season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, causing Cawood to miss his junior season.
However, all of this would lead to the success Cawood and the Raiders would find this spring.
ENDING ON A HIGH NOTE
Entering his senior year of high school sports, Cawood’s mindset remained the same as the previous seasons.
“I just wanted to have fun, just like any other season,” Cawood said. “I wasn’t really interested in continuing with golf, like playing in college or something. I was like, ‘Let’s just go and have fun. And if the team is good, we will enjoy it. And if not, we’ll enjoy it anyway.’”
Cawood has been consistent in Northridge’s lineup this year, usually playing in the number 3 or number 4 position. Much improved from 2019, the Raiders competed for the Northern Lakes Conference title with state-ranked Warsaw. Although Northridge narrowly missed an NLC crown, they managed to break through and win a section title at their home course of Meadow Valley Golf Club in Middlebury.
Being able to have success in his senior year was even more rewarding, in Cawood’s eyes.
“It was absolutely amazing to finish it like we did,” Cawood said.
Northridge boys golf coach Todd King had nothing but praise for the only senior on the roster.
“Landon has been a captain for us last season and has done a phenomenal job guiding his teammates,” said King. “He kept his teammates focused and very positive throughout the season. Landon’s 84 he shot in our sectional helped us secure the sectional championship. … Landon has been a great role model to his peers. He’s one of those kids who does the little things right.”
In addition to playing on the boys’ team, Cawood was manager of the girls’ golf team in his senior year.
“On race day I would be recording scores and everything; put them in the computer,” Cawood says of his leadership responsibilities. “During training I would just practice with them and be an extra body in case they needed to level the drills, player-wise, or I was going to get range balls. All that sort of thing.”
Cawood wasn’t just a golfer at Northridge. He also played trumpet in the pep band for seven years (high school and high school). In high school, he was a member of the student council and the National Honor Society, as well as a group called the “Optimus Club” that would volunteer at the Middlebury food bank.
Helping others is a big part of Cawood’s life. He’s been able to do that through his time as a member of the Boy Scouts and rose to the rank of Eagle Scout last year.
“My older brother (Colton) was also in Scouting and he earned his Eagle rank,” Cawood said. “He’s a few years older than me… when he got his Eagle Scout, I thought that was really cool. That helped me stay in the program and keep me working for it.”
Cawood now wants to make his profession of helping people, especially children. The recently graduated high school student will attend Indiana University in the fall to study biology. He then hopes to study medicine, with the intention of becoming a pediatrician.
“I was particularly drawn to the medical field because both my parents are veterinarians, so I have that experience with medicine growing up in this household,” Cawood said. “I called my father, who is a great vet, and I can just experience that. I’ve never really wanted to do anything other than medicine.
“And then, through Boy Scouts, I was working at a summer camp where I got to teach the younger scouts the rank order, so that got me helping kids and stuff. So they are just right together for pediatrics.
Cawood said he would not have been able to do what he did without the support of his family and coaches.
“I definitely want to thank my family and all of that because they’ve certainly been a big help,” Cawood said. “Grandparents and my coaches too – they’ve certainly been a big help too.”