Homestead's Hitt battles conditions to take second in state golf tourney
Junior falls to two-time champ Reinecke
With frost one day hindering the start and breaking up her rhythm and a drenching rain killing any thoughts of a dramatic low score and rally the next, Homestead junior golfer Anika Hitt took what the elements offered her at the WIAA State Tournament Oct. 14 and 15 and made the best of it.
Which was a strong second place individual finish.
"I had some ball-striking problems that first day and I struggled a little bit, so my Dad (Brad) came out and helped me," she said. "I just got off-rhythm because I had planned how my practice was going to go and then I had all this awkward time to fill (because of the frost delay)."
"The second day, I started out on fire, but because I had an earlier tee-time I and the others just got pounded (by the rain). I remember thinking 'This is what a hurricane must be like (laughs).' So I had to go for smart golf and not try for anything really big."
That conservative policy served Hitt well, as she turned in a 36-hole total of 147 (76-71), which was a good four shots clear of the third place finisher from Stoughton but four shots behind medalist Jessica Reinecke of Verona, who who her second straight individual title with a 143 (69-74)
Hitt's efforts helped the young Highlanders to a 12th place finish with a 771 team total (388-383) as meet favorite Arrowhead won with a 638 effort.
"Anika was a key cog in getting us back to state," said Highlander coach John Krueger, "and she showed a lot of tenacity and grit in unpleasant conditions. On Tuesday (the second day) she chipped in for an eagle at 11 and that was her spark. The back nine then went up in flames in a good way. She just torched it."
That included a birdie on 16 with what Krueger called "one of the best bunker shots he's ever seen."
"There's just a lot of skill in that golf bag," he said. Hitt finished 13th last year individually when the Highlanders won their second straight state team title.
She is also motivated. Hitt tipped her cap to Reinecke who has considerable skill of her own, but also knew that with a slightly better first day, she could have been going hammer and tongs with her for the title in those final holes.
"I'm extremely happy, don't get me wrong," she said. "I hoped to win it, but I put myself out of it (on the first day). She (Reinecke) played great golf and I played good golf. It's as simple as that."
Hitt's 2014 season began almost immediately afterward as she took part in a Mid-American Junior Golf Tourney back at University Ridge the following weekend.
She was also happy that the rest of her still-young team got some state meet experience.
"We were happy to be there," Hitt said. "We wished we would have scored better, but we'll learn from it."
Other Homestead scored included Kelly Kasper 202 (101-101), Bella Barbiere 211 (102-109), Katie Gebhardt 215 (109-106) and Kathleen Cullen 215 (110-105).
"It was a very successful trip to Madison for Anika and the team for that matter," said Krueger. "I'm looking forward to next year already."
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