TMP. Russell prepare for state
By AUSTIN COLBERT
Thomas More Prep-Marian sophomore Hannah Michaud spent most of her 16th birthday in Syracuse at the state regional golf tournament last week. Whatever gifts awaited her back home couldn't compare to the present she gave herself that day.
"There was always this thought in my mind: How great would that be to be able to go to state on my birthday? I guess all the cards were in the right place," Hannah Michaud said. "I'm still kind of in shock. It's slowly sinking in that I'm actually going on Monday."
Hannah will join her sister, senior Monica Michaud, at the Class 3-2-1A state girls golf tournament today. The tournament is held at The Golf Club at Southwind in Garden City and is hosted by Lakin High School.
"I'm really happy that she is coming with me," Monica Michaud said. "I would have loved to have the rest of the team there, too. But to have my sister as the one to come with me makes me really proud."
Monica Michaud is heading to state for the third time in three years as a competitive golfer. She did not play golf her freshman year. In fact, she had never even touched a golf club before she started playing as a sophomore. To go from where she was then to where she is now has been a surprising journey for the senior.
"I don't even think I knew what golf was my freshman year," Monica Michaud said. "I think I'm much more consistent and enjoy the game more and find it less frustrating when I don't do things right."
As a junior, Monica Michaud shot a 116 to finish 47th at state. While her experience playing should benefit her again this year, it was Hannah Michaud's experience walking behind her older sister at state that could be even more invaluable.
"She is obviously really good, otherwise she wouldn't have gone to state for three years in a row," Hannah Michaud said. "Following her around gave me the chance to see how well people play and the caliber people play at."
Much like her sister, Hannah Michaud only took up the game recently. She had never played golf before her sister dragged her into it last year.
Of all the things that got her hooked, it was seeing Monica's instant success on the course and Hannah's natural competitiveness took over.
"Two years ago I definitely couldn't see myself as a golfer," Hannah Michaud said. "But following her around and everything got me thinking that maybe this is fun. She was the one that taught me how to golf, so that was really great."
The girls are great friends both on and off the course. They often compete with each other while waiting for a ride home, testing each other on the green or driving range.
As similar as they are, both have very different approaches on the course. Monica keeps her emotions in check most of the time and fights an inward battle, while Hannah likes to be the aggressor.
"(Monica) doesn't have killer instincts. She plays for herself, because she competes against herself," TMP golf coach Judy Mitchell said. "Where Hannah, she's a competitor. She is out for blood most of the time."
And it's Hannah Michaud's competiveness that has her in today's state golf tournament as only a sophomore.
Despite the limited time she has been swinging a club, Hannah Michaud has quickly become a major player for TMP.
For her to make it to state is not surprising to her older sister.
"I kind of expected it. She had a rough year last year trying to get the hang of things," Monica Michaud said. "I know coming into the season she was absolutely determined that she was going to go this year. She's got a lot of drive."
Russell golf moves up to Class 4A
Russell High School senior Alex Ptacek shot a 104 to finish in 19th at the Class 3-2-1A state girls golf tournament last year. But with Russell's move to Class 4A this year, she knows finishing as high will be even more of a challenge.
"I'm not saying that it was any easier (playing in Class 3A), but the scores have a tendency to be a little bit higher," Ptacek said of Class 4A. "We were looking at the 4A state golf scores from last year and it's going to be pretty difficult to walk away a champion from the 4A state. But I know I can probably, if I play well, do OK."
Ptacek and sophomore Megan Boxberger will represent Russell at today's Class 4A golf tournament, held at the Crestwood Country Club in Pittsburg.
Despite her youth, Boxberger comes with plenty of experience as well, having finished fifth as a freshman in Class 3-2-1A last season after shooting a 97 at the state tournament in Cheney.
"I was definitely nervous. I didn't really know what to expect or how many players were going to be there," Boxberger said. "I feel more confident this year in what I'm supposed to do and what to expect."
Ptacek will be competing in her third state tournament today, and the girls combined experience should give them a distinct advantage on the competition.
"The nervousness shouldn't be quite as high," Russell golf coach Brad Banker said. "I don't want to place pressure on them with high expectations, but I would think they are both very competitive and have a good chance at medaling in the top 20."