TRINITY - Not that she expected to be The Tampa Tribune's Pasco County Girls Golf Athlete of the Year, but Megan Van Etten is happy that she is keeping the streak alive.
"I just wanted it because my older sister Emily had it the last two years," Van Etten said.
The Mitchell sophomore led her Mustangs to a 9-1 record and won the Sunshine Athletic Conference tournament where Van Etten avenged her regular-season loss to Wesley Chapel's T.J. Adipietro.
According to Van Etten, she had to focus more on her own game and make the right shots instead of worrying about how well Adipietro was shooting. After clinching the tournament she experienced her favorite moment of the season.
"I beat T.J. and my coach gave me a hug, then my dad, then my teammates all rushed up to give me hugs," Van Etten said.
Going from her sixth-place finish at the SAC tournament her freshman year to winner the next required some adjustments in her game. Van Etten said it was a season-long process.
"We did a complete makeover of my swing. I am just seeing the ball a lot crisper and solid. My drives are a lot farther," she said.
This offseason she will be at her home course of Heritage Springs working on more fundamentals.
"I'm just going to be doing a lot of golfing. ... I'm going to work on my short game. I am going to make my putting stroke straight back and straight through. I'm definitely working on my chipping," Van Etten said.
For her junior season, Van Etten said that she is ready to add another member of her family to the Mitchell team.
"I'm really excited because my little sister Rebecca will be on the team," Van Etten said. "I hope that we make it to states because we've been so close the last two years that I have been on the team. I want to make the tournament with my sister."
Mitchell's girls coach, Joe Castellano, said that he will have to rely on his top player to take more of a central role in leading the Mustangs in 2009.
"We are returning a pretty good nucleus of players next year. I am looking for Megan to step up again and lead the team. ... Last year it was leader by committee. I had three seniors last year who were the emotional leaders of the team. Megan was more of the playing leader. This year we are going to be a young team, so she will have to take a more emotional leadership role too," Castellano said.
GIRLS GOLF FIRST TEAM
Alexandra Irish, Academy at the Lakes
Leslie Choucard, Saddlebrook Prep
Megan Van Etten, Mitchell
T.J. Adipietro, Wesley Chapel
Samantha Friese, Wesley Chapel
Coach of the Year: Scott Boyd, Wesley Chapel