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Girls Athlete of the Week: Gainesville's Meg Callahan

POSTED: April 10, 2014 9:20 p.m.

The Gainesville girls golf team has looked to Meg Callahan to be a soft-spoken but strong leader since her freshman season, when she finished with the lowest stroke average in the program and won the team’s player of the year award.

Since then Callahan, now a senior, has won the award her sophomore and junior years, but how she finishes individually is never as important to her as how her team finishes.

“Playing for Gainesville is always an honor,” Callahan said. “To hold up a tradition that’s been going on for so long, playing as freshmen and as seniors with the same group of girls, it’s been really special.”

Callahan is certainly a leader for the Lady Red Elephants. However, she and coach Clay McDonald both admit that competition on the team is tight, and all of the golfers are capable of being No. 1.

“It really motivates me,” Callahan said. “I’m always proud of my teammates; at any moment any of us could beat each other. Trying to compete against really good players within our team is something that is tough but enjoyable.”

Callahan has consistently been one of the top golfers for Gainesville and was the low-medalist with a score of 40 in a win against White County last week. For her achievements, Callahan is The Times Girls Athlete of the Week.

With three tournaments to go in the 2014 regular season, Callahan wants to finish strong to earn player of the year honors once again, but she also hopes to push her team toward the Class AAAAA state championship after tying for fourth place last year.

“We were disappointed about last year, but you can’t win them all,” said Callahan, who was part of Gainesville’s 2012 state championship team. “We are excited for this year and trying to prepare nicely.”

No matter the outcome of this season, however, Callahan will always cherish the team’s win at state two years ago for reasons that go beyond the championship trophy.

“One of my favorite memories is winning state my sophomore year, especially with our teammate Averi Smith, who just passed away,” Callahan said. “She had her best round that day, so that was great to see and we were really excited for her.”

Although the team’s composition is different this year, the Lady Red Elephants are strong with three seniors who are more focused on state than ever, according to McDonald. As for Callahan, she plans to continue quietly competing with her teammates and opponents each week to prepare for what’s next.

“I like to carry myself in a way that’s not really loud and lead by the things I do and not make it a huge deal,” Callahan said. “I need to finish strong these last couple of tournaments.”

As Callahan’s high school golf career comes to a close, she looks forward to school at Auburn University, where she plans to focus on academics and simply enjoy golf as a hobby.

For now, however, her sights are set on one last bit of success at state.

“She is extremely focused,” McDonald said. “She realizes the hard work she’s put in over the past few years and that it’s kind of coming to a close, so she’s savoring all the experiences.”


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