The rise of Cloverleaf golfer Averi Hanna has been nothing short of meteoric. Natural talent has carried the senior to a full scholarship to Cleveland State University, but hard work, an unflappable mental game and competitiveness haven’t been far behind.
The fact that the 2018 Gazette MVP didn’t pick up a club until June 2, 2015 is hard to comprehend.
The fact that she began her career by shooting 121 and ended it by finishing 19th at the Division I tournament is extraordinary.
The fact that the Colts enter next season with a 54-match winning streak is proof of what she meant to the program.
It’s been quite the journey for the Guilford Township resident.
“My first 18 holes ever was in a high school tournament, and that round went on for 7½ hours,” Hanna recalled. “I almost decided to quit but didn’t, which is good. I just wasn’t used to watching my ball, so I kept losing it. Carrying a bag, I haven’t carried my bag for 18 holes since. I was very overwhelmed about golf at the time.
“But I really enjoy individual sports where you can really improve yourself and, at the same time, help the rest of the team. I really enjoy golfing, so I guess that’s why I stuck with it.”
Cloverleaf coach Adam Michel was glad Hanna did. In 2015, he was blown away at how Hanna had a smooth, mechanically sound swing, especially considering she began playing only two months prior. Michel also loved her drive to become great, no questions asked.
Hanna had a 52.7 average as a freshman, then lowered to 43.2 and 40.0 over the next two seasons. The right-hander’s 37.5 this fall trails only Highland’s Jessica Porvasnik (35.6, 36.1, 36.7) and Madison Butler (37.0), who won the 2012 and 2016 D-I state championships, in Medina County history.
Cleveland State had to be glad Hanna stuck with golf, too, when she selected the school over Oakland (Mich.) and Ohio State, where Porvasnik starred before embarking on a professional career.
“She’s got an amazing swing, No. 1,” Michel said. “Her swing is as close to picture-perfect as you can get it.
“She also has a fantastic touch around the green with chipping. On great days, she’s hitting everything to 10 feet. On days she’s having off-day, she’s able to chip, one-putt and give herself an opportunity to shoot very low.”
Hanna also gave herself the opportunity to grow socially and academically when she elected to attend Cloverleaf this school year. She was previously home-schooled by her mother, April, for 2½-4 hours per day but knew it was time to prepare for college.
The adjustment was difficult at first, as the quiet Hanna had to overcome anxiety. Her teammates were there every step of the way, however, and the close-knit relationships with fellow seniors Mckenna Jordan and Brynn Shetterly in particular helped Hanna blossom in more ways than one.
“I like talking to people and working with other students,” Hanna said. “I don’t think I would have liked to go to public school for all of my schooling, but I went in and had such a different perspective. I understand that drama doesn’t matter. I laugh at it and move on.”
The next step is college, where Hanna is leaning toward a major in business or sports management. The Vikings already have Butler in a starring role, and director of golf Steve Weir is a Brunswick native.
Hanna’s golf career is still in its infant stages, but she’ll never forget the role Cloverleaf played.
“It was a really fun season,” she said. “Our team chemistry was really strong. There was definitely no drama on the team for the first time ever.
“I had a lot of fun with the other two seniors. We all shared a common goal of playing the best we could. It was a good season.”
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- All-Ohio or bust for Secilia Ho, Averi Hanna at state tournament
- Wadsworth's Secilia Ho, Cloverleaf's Averi Hanna qualify to state tournament
- Averi Hanna advances to districts, Cloverleaf not so fortunate
- New division, same results: Jordan, Hanna power Cloverleaf to districts
- Cloverleaf finishes another undefeated PTC season
- Cloverleaf earns first state berth in girls golf