Alyssa Albright has been playing basketball since first grade, and lacrosse since fifth grade, but golf is the sport she has decided to continue to play in college.
The senior from Lansing Catholic played four years on varsity and made all-state and the Lansing State Journal dream team in both lacrosse and golf. She also played two years on varsity and earned all-area honorable mention and all-league in basketball.
Albright, who will attend Oakland University, is the 2012 Lansing State Journal female athlete of the year.
“I was a late bloomer in golf. I started playing in seventh grade,” Albright said. “It’s completely different and completely mental. I really enjoy playing golf.
“Part of the reason I picked golf was I could see myself waking up for four years in college and going to play golf. I don’t know if I could see that about basketball or lacrosse every day.”
Team success at Lansing Catholic didn’t hurt in the decision process.
The Cougars placed third in the Division 3 state finals in 2008 and third in Division 4 in 2009 before earning Division 4 state titles in 2011 and 2012
Albright finished sixth individually last fall after shooting an 84-77-161, one shot behind teammates Jacqueline Setas and Danielle Crilley and just three behind the medalist at state finals. The previous year, she and Setas tied for fourth, one shot behind Crilley and five behind the medalist.
“Nothing beats winning two state championships,” Albright said.
“We progressively got better, but we had to work hard. I love working hard, setting goals, and trying to achieve them.
“Golf is the sport I need to work at the most, and I love the challenge.”
Albright appreciates the coaching she received for four years from Mary Schafer at Lansing Catholic.
“She started coaching when I was a freshman, and she has really helped me with the mental aspect of the game,” Albright said. “She knows our team’s personalities. I’m very energetic and emotional. She didn’t try to do too much, but just the right amount. I don’t know where I would be without her.”
A couple of the reasons Albright chose Oakland were former Lansing Catholic all-stater Mara Kovac, one of Oakland’s top players, and coach Russ Cunningham (a standout in Lansing area golf tournaments over the past decade).
Owen Blank, coach of the Waverly/Lansing Catholic/Grand Ledge team, says Albright could have also been successful in college lacrosse.
“Golf is lucky to get her,” he said. “I wish she’d keep playing lacrosse. She’s an amazing natural leader and amazing athlete. The girl’s got a great drive to win.
“She scored 10 goals in a game several times. She gets fired up, makes a move and takes a shot. She’s a lot of fun to watch. She has one of the best shots I have ever seen for a girl. I’m sure she could play guys lacrosse.”
Blank said Albright was a big help in building a cohesive team out of players from three schools.
“You never know if something like that will work, and if the girls from different schools will have cliques,” Blank said. “She helped in never letting it get that way.”
Albright also competed for a CAAC White title in basketball, where Lansing Catholic finished 12-9 overall and 7-3 in the league.
“I really enjoyed the girls on the team, which was my best memory of basketball,” Albright said.
“Coach (Joe Springer) let me play my own game because he respected my game, which I really appreciated.”
Albright said a lot of people have had a hand in her success.
“Being named female athlete of the year is a dream come true,” Albright said. “I also wanted to thank my family, friends and the Lansing Catholic community for all of their support and kind words.”