Jeremy Papasso / Staff Photographer
Lewis Geyer / Staff Photographer
BROOMFIELD — The primary focus of Hailey Schalk’s attention has turned outside the state of Colorado as she has reached a level of golf that allows her to compete on the national level.
But even as she competes at golf courses across the country, the Holy Family sophomore has not forgotten about defending the Class 3A state title in her home state. So far on her repeat campaign since taking the state by storm as a freshman in 2017, Schalk’s only in-state competition this spring has been a trio of Tri-Valley League matches.
Schalk won all of them.
“Recently, I haven’t played much out of state and I’m really focusing on the high school season right now,” Schalk said. “It’s been pretty good. I’ve been kind of struggling a little bit, to be honest. I haven’t been playing my best. The tournament (Wednesday) at Fox Hill was a little bit better though.”
Schalk opened the season by shooting a 2-under 70 at Colorado National and followed that up with a 2-under 69 at Highland Meadows before carding a 3-under 69 at The Fox Hill Club in Longmont on Monday. Those are excellent scores for any prep golfer, but Schalk holds herself to a higher standard. At last year’s state championships, Schalk shot a 65 on the first day and finished the tournament 3-under to win the state title by seven strokes over the closest golfer, setting her up to potentially become Colorado’s first female golfer to win four state titles.
The player that finished runner-up to Schalk at state last spring, Kent Denver’s Charlotte Hillary, could soon become a teammate of Schalk’s. Both girls are first alternates for the 2018 USGA Women’s Amateur Four-Ball scheduled for April 28-May 2 in Tarzana, Calif., and it appears as though they have a good shot at getting in since at least one qualified team has already notified tournament officials that it may drop out. Her entry being granted into that high-level tournament would shift Schalk’s attention back outside of the state.
“My main goal is to win state but I’ve got to get playing better before state,” Schalk said. “The Four-Ball would be a great experience and I’m really hoping I get a chance to play.”
For the Tigers squad, however, finishing second in the team scoring last year with a core of underclassmen hasn’t provided them the momentum they had hoped coming into 2018. Sophomore Megan Vogt, who tied for seventh in 3A last year, transferred to Broomfield and the Holy Family program has also struggled with numbers so far this spring.
The Tigers do have a second talented player in senior Heather Stauter, who shoots in the 80s and is currently third in the Tri-Valley League standings. They also are expecting some relief once several promising junior varsity players get up to speed so the Tigers haven’t given up on the hope of winning a team championship at some point in the next several years.
“We’re still looking to qualify a team for state,” Tigers head coach Matt Schalk said. “We have some JV girls who are coming up so we’ll be back and going so we’re hoping to be ready by the end of the season.”