Hailey Hoagland signs with Griz golf

Hailey Hoagland had a change of heart.

The Butte High multi-sport star decided she wanted to stay in state for college. So, on Wednesday morning, Hoagland signed to play golf for the University of Montana golf team

“I didn’t really expect that I would go to the Griz,” Hoagland said. “I really wanted to go out of state to experience new things. As time grew closer, I decided I wanted to stay closer to home.”

Last month, Hoagland made a recruiting trip to North Dakota and North Dakota State. That decision actually helped lead her to the Grizzlies.

“I really liked it down there, but it is so different not having mountains around you,” Hoagland said. “It didn’t seem like home.”

Hoagland visited the University of Montana on Oct. 25, the day after the Bulldog football team’s game at Missoula Big Sky. It didn’t take long for Hoagland to know that the school both her parents went to, was also the place for her.

“I knew right when I left that was where I wanted to go,” she said.

Coach Joni Stephens’ Grizzlies currently have seven players on the roster. One, Lindsay Reeve, is a senior.

Hoagland will be the lone Montana player on the roster, and she knows she might have to battle each week to make the traveling roster.

“It’s definitely not going to be easy,” she said. “I’m going have to work hard, but I am willing to do it.”

During the spring of 2014, while Hoagland is still at Butte High, the Grizzlies will play several tournaments throughout the west and the southwest. Those include events in Palm Desert, Calif., New Braunfels, Texas, and Rio Verde, Ariz.

“They play a lot of cool tournaments, so I’m pretty excited,” Hoagland said.

Her golfing career has already taken Hoagland on big trips, including the 2012 Junior National Championships in Hawaii.

While she excelled as a junior golfer the past few summers, Hoagland also put together a resume that ranks her as one of the best prep golfers Butte has ever seen.

After missing All-State honors by an eyelash as a freshman at Butte by placing 16th at state, Hoagland closed her prep golf career with three straight All-State performances.

She placed fourth at state as a sophomore, helping the Bulldogs place second during the Class AA state tournament at the Butte Country Club. That gave Butte High its first golf trophy in a generation.

Hoagland played through mononucleosis and placed eighth as a junior. She took seventh as a senior, when the Bulldogs also placed second in team standings. Hoagland and the Bulldogs won several tournaments during the 2013 prep season.

Her golf career took off while Hoagland also excelling at three other sports at Butte High. She was a key contributor to the Butte High softball and basketball teams as a freshman. That year she hit a clutch home run to help lead the Bulldog softball team to the Class AA state title.

Hoagland tore the ACL in her left knee during her sophomore season of basketball, forcing her to miss the softball season that year as a well. As a junior, she ran track for the Bulldogs.

In college, Hoagland is looking forward to focusing solely on golf. At UM, players practice at least three days a week at an indoor facility, so she will be able to work on her game year round.

“I’m definitely excited to see how much I can improve,” she said.

First, Hoagland will be focused on basketball. The Bulldogs begin practice on Monday, Nov. 25.

Hailey Hoagland makes it official, signing with the University of Montana golf team Wednesday morning. (Courtesy photo)

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