Wildcat full of spunk, grace

Ariana van den Akker/The Herald

By JOSEPH FANELLI
Herald Sports Writer

On Monday, four days before Annie Getzin made the trip north to The Legends Golf Club in Franklin, she circled a putting green at Sultan’s Run Golf Club in Jasper.

The scene was something miles away from the usual hysteria the Jasper girls golf team provides, but that was because most of the players were not there. In fact, only Getzin practiced that day, methodically chipping balls from 15 or 20 or 25 feet away. For the first time in four years, Jasper did not qualify for the state finals as a team, narrowly missing a finals berth by four strokes at Saturday’s regional. And on this day, there is a certain peace on the course. But, as with all quiet moments around Annie Getzin, that can last for only so long.

As in 20 minutes later, during this little interaction between Getzin and coach Steve Milligan.

“Steve’s going to dance for me,” Getzin says. “Will you do The Wobble, Steve? You got to do The Wobble.”

Steve does The Wobble.

“Annie makes a putt!” Milligan exclaims, and then proceeds to display more dancing moves; the two of them continue into hysterics, lost in their own private joke.

That’s golf with Getzin, the Wildcat senior making her fourth state finals appearance today in Franklin, her first as an individual. Only 36 holes lie between her and the end of what has been an illustrious high school golf career.

Even if Getzin were to finish dead last at the finals, she’s already accrued enough scores and success to be included in the pantheon of great girl golfers for the Wildcats. She’s a four-year varsity member who has been an integral part of four Big Eight Conference championships, three sectional championships, two regional titles and three top-20 state finals finishes, in two of which she recorded the best score for the Wildcats. She added an individual sectional championship last weekend and has been a part of 50 regular-season invitational and dual-match wins. She’s been the top, or one of the top, Jasper golfers for the last three seasons.

Anything missing there?

“Remember that time I almost walked into a lake?” she mused.

Oh, yeah, that.

“I was a freshman at a tournament and it was hot outside and I put the towel in the water and put the towel over my head and I almost walked into the lake,” she explained.

That’s what you get with Getzin. There are the scores and success and the results, but there is also the goofiness, the hilarity and the smiles. And ultimately, that’s what matters to her.

“I would much rather be remembered by the way I act on the course,” she said. “Because I take pride in that. I don’t want to be a person that people are like, ”˜Oh, man, she threw her club’ or ”˜Oh, man, she’s awful.’ ... I would much rather be the person that everyone is like, ”˜Oh, Annie! I hope she does well.’”

And that is something she’s achieved. Nine holes with Getzin is as much a pep talk as it is a competition. She wants to win, but she’ll encourage her opponents, talk them up, give them confidence. She’s adored by opponents and their parents. Last Saturday, while waiting for her score, she was approached by players and coaches from Floyd Central and Bloomington South; she had just played against the same girls, who hugged her and wished her well. For all of her success, she’s maintained relationships with everyone she’s come across, even as she’s burying them on the back nine.

“I can only be thankful,” Getzin said. “I’m so utterly thankful for everyone I’ve got standing behind me. ... I have all these people backing me up and that’s what matters. Yes, I could be out here and shoot 5-under every time and, yes, that would be great, but I may not be the same person. ... I feel support every time because I get texts, I get hugs, I get five boxes of Sugar Babies. That’s what I live for.”

All this talk about being thankful and friendships doesn’t mean Getzin’s not here to win some golf. As Milligan said, “We’re not going for vacation” up at Franklin.

“Going for one thing,” he said. “Going for the state championship. If you don’t think you can win the state championship, don’t go.”

Getzin admits she wants to finish somewhere in the top 10, but she won’t allow herself to ponder all the possibilities. Best possible scenario?

“Pass,” she said with a laugh, declining to reveal her ultimate goal.

Right now, she’s happy in the moment, a moment when she’ll continue putting and chipping and playing golf. Her teammates aren’t playing next to her, but they’ll be there, along with the myriad of supporters from her parents to opponents. There will be time to think about scores and the future later.

“I’m just going to enjoy this thing,” she said. “I’m not going to get my high school senior year back. I’m not going to be able to go out there with all these people that have given me opportunities, grown with me, taught me the right way. I’m not going to have all their support. This is the big time.”

Just watch out for any lakes.

Contact Joseph Fanelli at jfanelli@dcherald.com




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