BROOMFIELD — At least early in her career, Holy Family sophomore golfer Hailey Schalk appears to have cracked the code for winning Colorado prep state titles.
The talent is there, obviously. But every year there are plenty of girls with enough talent to win state, and it just doesn't work out for them on the final two days when it matters most.
After running away from the field on Day 1 of the state tournament and winning the Class 3A title as a freshman in 2017, Schalk returned to the state championships this spring and had to come from behind to win her second. In last Tuesday's final round of the 2018 state tournament, Schalk shot a 4-under 67 at Elmwood Golf Course to pass Colorado Academy's Caroline Jordaan and win her second championship.
Schalk is now the first female prep golfer in Colorado in any classification to repeat as state champion since Jefferson Academy graduate Jennifer Kupcho won back-to-back 4A titles in 2014 and 2015. For that, she is the BoCoPreps.com Girls Golfer of the Year for the second straight spring.
"Last year, I had a big lead going into the second day so I was really just playing more conservative," Schalk said. "I didn't really have to try to shoot low. Being one down this year going into the second day and knowing that she was playing good golf, I really had to push myself to play well and shoot under par. I knew I couldn't play scared because that wasn't going to win."
Schalk's accomplishments weren't confined to the state of Colorado this season, either.
In late April, Schalk also played in the U.S. Women's Amateur Four-Ball, a national tournament conducted by the United State Golf Association. Schalk and teammate Charlotte Hillary from Kent Denver played through the first two days and lost their first match on the third day by one stroke on the final hole.
The day after the state championships, Schalk left to play an American Junior Golf Association event in Las Vegas, Nev. She is playing in a tournament at Colorado National Golf Club this week and on June 4-7 she will play in the Hale Irwin Colorado Junior, which she won last summer.
"This season, I just tried to fix the smaller things like chipping and putting and getting up and down," Schalk said. "I think I did that and I think I was under par in every round, which is a big improvement from last year. I felt like I managed the courses better than last year and played better overall and I'll just keep trying to get better at those things."
With Schalk leading the way, players from Broomfield made a spectacular showing this season. Broomfield High sophomore Meghan Vogt, who was Schalk's teammate at Holy Family last season, tied for third in 5A and the Eagles qualified a team for state for the first time since moving up to 5A. Prospect Ridge Academy's Ashlee Sample tied for 11th in 4A. Jefferson Academy freshman Aubri Braecklein placed sixth in 3A while Kupcho, who now plays for Wake Forrest University, won the individual title at the NCAA Division I Women's Golf Championships last week.
"I think it's awesome," Schalk said. "Just to watch Jennifer Kupcho win was really cool and getting to watch Meghan do really well at state was awesome too. It was just a really good week for Broomfield."