A possible SMAA championship for the Hillsdale girls golf team became a whole lot harder to envision recently, when one of the state’s top golfers, and their clear number one, transfered to Coldwater.
Junior Amanda Sawdey was leading the conference with a 41.5 strokes average after the first two SMAA jamborees and the Hornets had an early edge in the league standings, but Sawdey said academics and an impending family move made becoming a Cardinal the right thing for here.
“I switched because we’re planning to move to Coldwater for my dad’s job eventually. And the academics are more difficult there than Hillsdale,” she said. “I’m already in some AP classes and now was just the right time to change.”
After officially starting classes at Coldwater on Sept. 11, she will forego her remaining golf eligibility for her junior season, a year after finishing 18th at the Division III state meet.
Hillsdale head coach Steve Brower said he was shocked when Sawdey told him of her decision.
“From my standpoint, number one, dropping the bomb shell in the middle of the season when she was leading the conference and we were number one in the league — she had a chance to be all-state possibly, Top 10 in the state — it kind of disappointed me,” he said, noting there could be more to the story, but he didn’t want to expand on it.”It kills us. We’re taking a person who is a mid-40s average and now we’re taking a 72 or 73 average, so you’re looking at 30 strokes.”
Sawdey didn’t give a whole lot of insight to her hasty decision, saying she was doing what was best for her in the long run.
“I wasn’t really that entirely close with a lot of my teammates. I did tell my coach though and it was just what I needed to do,” she said. “I know it will set me back, but I’ll just have to work extra hard for my senior year. They have a good golf program at Coldwater and I’m excited.”
The Hornets finished fourth at last week’s league jamboree, but Onsted and Columbia Central have the fast track to a league title with the latest shuffle.
Brower said he thinks it’s too easy for kids to transfer “at the drop of a hat” now-a-days, but he’s still surprised Sawdey didn’t just wait until the end of the season to change schools.
Nonetheless Brower said his team is regrouping the best it can, and working hard to improve each outing.
“The kids are working hard, they just are enjoying the game and it will be fine. They just know it’s going to be a struggle and they’re doing the best they can,” he said.
“You just don’t have a young girl who is just starting out and tell her she has to take over from Amanda, you ask each girl just to pick up a couple of strokes here and there, but that’s asking a lot.”