The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Hill to play golf at University of The Southwest

 

CLOVIS — Sydni Hill started thinking around her junior year at Clovis High School that she could play golf at the next level.

Steve Speck had about a three-year headstart on that idea when an eighth-grade Hill came out for golf and was soon one of the team's top players.

"If somebody's that good at that young of an age," Speck said, "there's a good chance for college golf."

Now Hill, who's helped Clovis take three district golf titles and a third-place state finish in 2016, is going to familiar country for college golf at University of The Southwest in Hobbs.

Hill's family moved from Lovington to Clovis when she was 3, but the Wildcat senior said there are still plenty of Lea County connections.

"I was never really looking to go too far away," Hill said. "I have a lot of family down there, and I actually played golf with a lot of the girls on their team — they're mostly from New Mexico as well."

The school held a celebration for Hill joining the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) program Wednesday morning at Rock Staubus Gym, where most Wildcat fans are more familiar with the three-sport athlete.

Hill also considered Lubbock Christian University for golf. She briefly looked at college volleyball, and didn't even bother looking into college basketball because, "5-foot-3 wasn't getting me very far."

Over her five years with the Wildcat golf team, Speck has noticed improvement.

"She started off in eighth grade with scores in the 90s, and now she's usually in the 80s," Speck said. "She is a three-sport athlete, and that tells you what kind of athlete she is. When she's within 50 yards that's when she's at her best, and that's something you can't teach kids. It's something they have or don't have."

The Mustangs were officially added to the Sooner Athletic Conference as an associate member in women's golf in 2016.

Hill and the Wildcats are a little more than a third through the season, and are already qualified for the state meet in May.

When asked about her biggest adjustment in golf over her high school time, Hill said it would probably be the mental approach.

"I was always pretty good, but I would just get upset (on a bad hole)," Hill said. "Now, I'm more calm out there, and I just realize that there are good rounds and bad rounds."

 

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