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Girls golf: Top stars Hailey Schalk, Meghan Vogt getting in rounds hoping for state title shots

Schalk’s bid for four titles in jeopardy

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Holy Family's Hailey Schalk shot a ...
Jeremy Papasso/Staff Photographer
Holy Family’s Hailey Schalk has been playing at Colorado National, one of the few courses still operating in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, while clinging to hope she’ll get a chance to win a fourth state title.

The 2020 girls golf season was supposed to be the year for Holy Family senior Hailey Schalk.

Schalk won her third individual state title last May at the Class 4A state tournament with a one-round score of 72 to win by six strokes. Her win made her the third golfer in Colorado high school girls golf history with three individual titles. This spring, she had a chance to become the first four-time state champion since the sport was sanctioned by the Colorado High School Activities Association in 1990.

“It’s always been my goal to win four state championships and I was looking forward to that,” Schalk said. “We had a full team this year and we were looking forward to doing well as a team and trying to win state as a team as well.”

Another senior with her sights on a state championship is Broomfield’s Meghan Vogt. She was in a battle with Loveland’s Lauren Lehigh for the individual state title in the Class 5A state tournament last year and sat one stroke behind Lehigh after the first round, but a snowstorm that wiped out the second round produced a tough pill to swallow for Vogt — a second-place finish that she had to simply accept.

“I feel like being a senior going through last season and knowing my competition, I felt I had a pretty good chance of winning state,” Vogt said.

Both were presumptive favorites to win a state title and anxious for a chance to make personal history, but those opportunities remain uncertain with the high school spring sports season still on hiatus. The chance to resume the season was dealt a blow on Wednesday when CHSAA announced its suspension of the spring sports season would be extended to April 30 to line up with an order handed down by Governor Jared Polis earlier in the day to keep schools closed until then due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Girls golf did see a few tournaments played before the suspension began on March 12, including Holy Family winning the first Tri-Valley League tournament on March 9 at Ute Creek Golf Course. Schalk led HFHS to the win with her 4-under 68, and the team won by 26 strokes.

“That really gave us a lot of confidence,” Schalk said. “It’s disappointing we didn’t get to continue.”

Colin Barnard/Loveland Reporter-Herald
Broomfield’s Meghan Vogt, center, was eager to challenge for the Class 5A state title this May.

Others, like Vogt and her Broomfield teammates, were a few days away from starting when learning their season was postponed. It was an especially tough blow to Vogt, with another out-of-her-control situation possibly denying her shot at a title.

“I haven’t had the best luck with state,” Vogt said. “I probably won’t get over last year with the one-day tournament, but this year it is a little more understandable. It’s a life-or-death kind of thing with the pandemic. Once they officially announce that state is canceled, it will hit me and I’ll be very upset.”

Both remain focused on training and preparing for a spring sports season despite the uncertainty. The advantage they have over other spring sport athletes is that they can either play a full round of golf or simulate it very closely during the shutdown, as some golf courses remain open to the public during the stay-at-home order.

The Colorado National Golf Club in Erie, which was scheduled to host the Class 4A state tournament this year, is one of the courses that is currently operating, though practice facilities like the putting green and driving range are closed, golfers may not use a golf cart while playing, and other social distancing rules are set for golfers to follow on the course in order to keep them apart. Schalk is a regular at the course and is finding time to get out and play some rounds.

“I’m still working on my game, working out a lot and staying strong for the season,” Schalk said. “My brother is in high school and plays baseball, and he hasn’t been able to do anything. There is a lot of people who haven’t been able to do anything in sports right now. With golf, I’m really thankful I can still play, practice and work on my game.”

There is still a future for both to play golf moving forward, starting with a full schedule of tournaments this summer that will go on should the pandemic settle down. In the fall, the two will continue playing at the collegiate level with Schalk signed to play at Colorado and Vogt heading to the University of Wyoming.

Even with their future in golf secured, losing their final high school season and a chance to win an important state championship in their careers is certainly dispiriting.

“I’m definitely disappointed,” Schalk said. “I wanted to have a chance at winning four titles and our team to have a chance. There are bigger things than golf right now and I understand why it’s postponed, but it’s still disappointing. I hope we can get to play.”