Bethel deal perfect ending for Rawls
Posted: Wednesday, May 9, 2012 12:00 pm
By MIKE HUTCHENS
Haley Rawls admittedly couldn’t have asked for a better senior year at Greenfield High School.
A second straight trip to the state golf tournament, the co-most valuable player on the Lady ’Jacket basketball team and the school’s prom queen, Rawls will walk the high school graduation aisle in a couple of weeks with nothing but fond memories of her final nine months at GHS.
Planning for the next chapter of her life tied a neat little bow around a nice graduation present.
Rawls has signed a golf scholarship to continue both her playing career and education at Bethel University.
She becomes the first girls’ golfer ever from Greenfield High School to ink such papers and acknowledged with a wide grin at her official signing, “I’ve had a really good senior year … a really, really good senior year. I don’t know if I could’ve wished for anything else. Everything has gone my way.”
In each of the past two falls, Rawls advanced to the Class A-AA state golf tournament in Manchester, becoming the first Lady ’Jacket to accomplish that feat.
She won all but one of her 11 nine-hole matches and two 18-hole events last fall on her way to a return trip to Willowbrook Golf Club after placing in the middle of the pack of the 52-player state tourney field as a junior. She placed 22nd in the state in her second appearance.
And Rawls has been on Lady Wildcat coach Monte Cunningham’s radar since he saw Rawls as a 10th-grader.
“I’ve watched her make great improvement from her sophomore to her junior senior, then maintain that excellence from her junior year until her senior year,” insisted Cunningham, who has led Bethel to a pair of TranSouth Conference championship finishes and two runnerup showings over the last four years.
“She has great work ethic, is dedicated and she’s from West Tennessee — which is a plus. Haley is going to be a great addition to our program.”
While earning a college golf scholarship was priority for Rawls, she did have some anxious moments back in January when she injured the growth plate in her wrist in a Greenfield basketball game against South Fulton with Cunningham in attendance.
Originally the diagnosis was a break, though follow-up doctor’s visit revealed instead a severe bruise. She underwent physical therapy and actually returned late in the season to the hardwood.
“When they showed me the X-ray at first and said, ‘It’s broken,’ I wanted to cry. After I calmed down, they looked at it again and saw differently. I was relieved,” Rawls grinned.
She only recently played golf again for the first time after the injury, but said she felt no effects afterward in her wrist.
Both Rawls and Cunningham said a redshirt freshman season was a possibility for the 2012-13 school year.
Each has no doubt that the player and program are a good fit.
“I’ve played with some girls on their team in a tournament and am already friends with several people there,” Rawls said. “It already feels like home.
“I guess it’s really hitting me now that I’m about to graduate and it’s time to move forward. I just know that I’ve really been blessed, and not just this year.”
But especially this year. Published in The WCP 5.8.12