MINFORD — By being able to hit a golf ball far, Minford’s Annie Lawson could stay close to home.
And, that’s exactly what the Lady Falcons’ senior girls golf standout is doing —as Lawson recently announced her intentions to play collegiate golf for Shawnee State University.
At her official signing ceremony at Minford High School, Lawson was flanked by her parents Scot and Sherry Lawson; her sister Charlee Lawson; Minford High School girls golf coach Chuck Miller; and several Lady Falcons teammates and friends.
Lawson, the 2020 Southern Ohio Conference Player of the Year and a member of the Lady Falcons’ conference championship squad, “honestly picked Shawnee State because it’s closer to home and it would be easier to stay and communicate”.
She also said she appreciated the approach of SSU golf coach Dave Hopkins, as although she was interested in attending “a couple of other schools, I wasn’t sure about playing golf or not”.
“I like Coach Hopkins and I just wanted to stay close to home,” said Lawson, whose home course is Little Scioto.
Lawson, along with teammate Mackenzie Koverman, competed in the Division II Southeast District tournament at Pickaway Country Club —and shot an 18-hole total of 101 (45-56) to finish 16th out of 36 total competitors.
From her freshman season (2017) where she averaged 60 strokes per nine holes to her senior campaign (2020) where she fired an average of 43, she was all about improvement.
In fact, before her freshman year, she “had never really played golf before until that summer”.
But before long, Lawson “fell in love with the sport” — and worked on her craft by dropping her strokes per nine holes averages to 55 as a sophomore and 48 as a junior.
She got so much better that she captured the SOC’s Girls POY, and was also a member of Minford’s boys team.
“I was really nervous as a freshman. I started playing that summer, I came to the first practice and met Coach (Chuck) Miller, and at first he kind of scared me because I didn’t know him. But I started playing, and Coach Miller told me to keep putting in the work. I worked really hard on my game over the next few years and got better and wanted to continue to play,” said Lawson. “All of my work pretty much paid off my senior year.”
She was almost a two-time district tournament participant, tying for the final qualifying spot from the sectional as a junior — but lost in a playoff.
But by coming back and enjoying a strong senior season, Lawson said she felt “proud”.
“It meant a lot. It made me proud to see how proud I made Minford High School and my community,” she said. “It was fun to have individual success as part of the team success.”
Miller — having coached golf for 21 years — said this past season was actually the first in which the Lady Falcons fielded a full girls team.
“Annie laid the groundwork for this. When she was a freshman, she was the only girl in the program I had. This year, we had at least four girls. So her success really has had a lot to do with jump-starting our program,” said the coach. “She comes out and works hard and does whatever it takes to get better. And it shows with her scores and her accolades and with her signing today with Shawnee State.”
Miller mentioned Lawson’s lack of experience early on of playing golf, but again emphatically emphasized her attitude of always aiming to improve.
“When Annie first showed up, I thought to myself that this girl will never make it. She will be here one day and go home and never come back, but she didn’t. I thought when she was done as a freshman, she’ll never be back for her sophomore year, and yet she was. She just got better every year and I am very proud of her,” said Miller. “I can’t have more respect for a student-athlete than I do for her. I am excited she is staying close to home, she took Shawnee State up on their offer, and I am looking forward to come watch her play some matches.”
Lawson, who plans to major in Natural Sciences at Shawnee State, said she wants to keep improving upon her skills — and her decision to play golf close to home should do just that.
“It will give me more great experiences and hopefully just make me a better person,” she said.
Reach Paul Boggs at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1926, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter @BoggsSports © 2021 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved