CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – Hanley Long is wrapping up a successful summer, competing in several junior amateur golf tournaments throughout Tennessee and her focus will soon shift to making sure her Rossview Lady Hawks golf team corrects last year’s Class AAA state runner-up finish in Manchester.
But in the meantime, Long spent the past weekend making a verbal commitment to play college golf at Middle Tennessee State University.
“MTSU just felt right for me,” Long said. “It felt like that was the place where I belong so I’m happy with my decision. I think it’s going to work out great.”
Long first met MTSU coaches three years ago and this past spring, the Lady Raiders staff continued to recruit her. But Long said she needed the early summer to visit a few more schools that had also showed interest like Belmont, Austin Peay, Memphis and Xavier. Although Long never made the trip to Cincinnati to visit Xavier she did make visits to Belmont and Memphis as well as Austin Peay.
But Long said she woke up one day several weeks ago and decided to hit chip shots at the new River Club Golf Course on Warfield Boulevard when she made her decision.
“When I woke up, it was just this gut feeling I had,” Long said. “I went to hit chip shots that morning and the more and more I thought about it, the more and more I was convinced that MTSU was where I wanted to go. So I told me parents but I didn’t let anyone else know for about a week. I wanted to make sure that I wouldn’t have second thoughts. But those never came.”
Long cited several reasons for her decision to attend MTSU, including the school’s recent transition to Conference USA. She’ll also play along side one of the city’s more accomplished golfers in former Clarksville High star Samantha Gotcher. Gotcher wrapped up her freshman year with the Lady Raiders last spring and played in the U.S. Women’s Open in June as well as a third straight stint in the U.S. Women’s Public Links earlier this month.
“I’ve talked with Samantha briefly about what to expect at MTSU,” Long said. “She just told me to not wish away my senior year. She said I need to enjoy this last year in high school because it’ll be over quickly and college is a lot of work. But I’m excited about the opportunity and I’m excited to get to play with Samantha. For once we’ll be on the same team instead of rivals.”
The early signing period for golf is November 12-19 but Long said she’s firm on her decision.
“I was searching for something to stand out,” Long said. “I wanted to go somewhere where I knew I could be challenged and somewhere that I knew had a strong tradition and a strong program. MTSU is all of those things to me and that’s what stood out the most.”
Long, who competed in this week’s Craig Rudolph Memorial Golf Tournament in Clarksville, will be turning her attention to trying to help her Rossview team navigate through District 10 golf as well as the region tournament in September with another potential shot at a state title.
“When the time comes, that’s where all my focus will be,” Long said. “These summer tournaments about to end and after that I’m only thinking about one thing and that’s working really hard to make that happen for our team because I couldn’t find better teammates to share something like that with than the girls on our team.”
George Robinson. Prep writer. 245-0747. firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Facebook and Twitter: @Cville_Sports.