GH's Hansen honored at U-D

Former Buccaneer receives school's prestigious President's Award
Nate Thompson
Apr 23, 2013

Collette Hansen said she's content with ending her competitive golf career at the college level and does not plan to continue on to a shot at the pro ranks.

Before that final chapter is closed, however, Hansen is intent on going out with a bang.

She's already lead the University of Detroit women's golf team to its best season in school history, with the Titans claiming eight tournament titles this spring.

To put that number in perspective, the program had won a total of 10 tournaments before this season. The Titans are also favorites to add No. 9 to their impressive resume, as they're considered the team to beat entering the Horizon League tournament championship this weekend.

A victory would punch their ticket to the NCAA Division 1 regional round.

"Everyone has been playing up to their capability," said Hansen, a 2009 Grand Haven High School graduate. "There's so many ups and downs in golf, but everyone has been at the top of their game throughout the spring. It's really been great to see."

For her tremendous accomplishments on and off the course, Hansen recently received the University of Detroit's top athletic honor, the President's Award. She was presented the crystal trophy at Titan Academic and Athletic Honors Dinner, held on Friday at the Hard Rock Cafe in downtown Detroit. U-D soccer player Pat Lepera was the male recipient of the award.

"My coach had told me (prior to the ceremony) that I was nominated, but I had no idea I was going to win," Hansen said. "It was very exciting.

"For it to be the school's most prestigious award, it's great to receive that recognition. It's about leadership, too, so it means a lot." 

A Division 1 all-state performer at Grand Haven High School, Hansen made a smooth transition to the college level, earning a spot in the Titans' starting lineup as a freshman. She's seen her scoring average continue to improve during her four years at the school, cumulating with this spring's 18-hole average of 78.6, which ranks third-best on the team.

"My average has consistently gone down since I've been here, and thinking about it, I feel I'm doing the same things mechanics-wise as I was as a freshman," she said. "But I think it boils down to the older I've got, the less mistakes I've made. Instead of going for it all on one shot, I'm more likely to tell myself to play in smart and make the most of it. Of course, with all the practice I've put in, I'm a lot more confident in every shot. It's like 'I know this shot and what I need to do.' That comes with experience."

Hansen said she hopes her season highlight has yet to come, but so far, she said the Titans performance at the Bowling Green University's Black Falcon Invitational on April 14 was a big accomplishment, considering U-D beat out several higher-ranked teams to take home first-place honors.

Hansen finished the 36-hole event with a 158, which was good for a tie for ninth. It was the 15th time in Hansen's college career she had finished in the top 10.   

Her parents, Dan and Jaclyn Hansen, have witnessed most of those rounds, and Collette said she's forever grateful for their support throughout her career.

"My dad has driven or flown to all my college tournaments," she said. "My mom, too, has been to quite a few, and I know how hard that is with her job. They've helped me out every step of the way, pushed me when I needed it, or gave me encouragement when I needed that."

Dan will be at Collette's side on the course again on June 17-20, as she'll look to defend her championship in the Spring Lake Invitational Tournament.

"He'll be my caddie again," Hansen said.

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