Anna Kramer has been a force to be reckoned with on the golf course during her four-year varsity career with the Spring Lake Lakers. Since walking onto the links as a freshman, Kramer has proven herself as an elite talent. After compiling three team state championships, one individual state championship, four All-State selections and three All-State Super Team selections, Kramer has had arguably the most decorated high school golfer career in school history.
Her junior year, after years of playing soccer, Kramer decided to switch gears and try her hand at tennis. To no surprise, Kramer excelled on the tennis court, too. In her senior season with the Lakers tennis squad, she earned All-Conference and All-Regional honors, after her and teammate McKenzie Regualos won a share of the O-K Blue Conference championship, and continued their hot streak at regionals, where they also took top honors.
After winning the Division 3 individual state championship her junior year, Kramer followed up with another impressive season as a senior. She finished the regular season with a 37.75 9-hole average, helping the Lakers capture the O-K Blue Conference championship by 331 strokes.
At the Division 3 regionals at White Lake Golf Club in Whitehall, Kramer took individual medalist honors with a 6-over-par 80 on the day and followed that up with an individual runner-up finish at the Division 3 state finals at Bedford Valley in Battle Creek.
Kramer finished with a two-day score of 153 (78, 75), but lost the first-round playoff hole against Danielle Starkowski of Pontiac Notre Dame Prep in her quest for an individual two-peat.
Kramer will continue her golf career at the University of Indianapolis next season.
Spring Lake girls golf coach George Bitner
On what makes Kramer such a great golfer
“She is so focused and never lets anything distract her from her game. When we were at the Meadows Golf Course for a meet this past season, her dad called and said she played three holes and was four-over-par. I caught up with her on the fourth hole and noticed she wasn’t using her hips correctly on her swing. I told her to focus on using her hips more on her shot, and she parred that hole. She went on to have a great round after that, mostly because she focused in on something, corrected it and stayed consistent with it.
“The game of golf is such a mentally challenging game. As physically gifted as Anna is, she’s even more gifted with her mental strength. She rarely ever lets one bad hole carry onto the next one. She is always consistent with her play and never once turned a bad hole into a nightmare hole. Sometimes people press when they don’t start off a hole well, and that can turn into a triple bogey. I can’t remember Anna ever getting triple or quadruple bogeys, because she always stayed calm under pressure.”
On first impression of Anna
“When she was a sixth grader playing at the Spring Lake Country Club, I saw her wail a shot over the hill on hole No. 10 and just said, ‘Wow. I hope she’s a Spring Lake kid.’ She came to our first varsity practice her freshman year and was immediately one of our best golfers. Her swing was excellent from the very beginning.”’
On career growth
“Her sophomore year was probably when she grew the most. She was All-State her freshman year, but after that she was named to the All-State Super Team for three years straight. Her game came together and meshed with her experience after that first season at the varsity level. She also got more confident in herself, and she started to believe she can win any meet she was at. I think that’s when she really turned a corner.”
After not playing tennis for six years, Kramer picked up a racquet again her junior year at Spring Lake, and not only made the varsity squad, but started at No. 3 doubles. Her confidence skyrocketed in her senior year, as she jumped up to No. 1 doubles and earned All-Conference and All-Regional honors for her play.
Spring Lake tennis coach Cathy Layson
On what makes Kramer such a great tennis player
“A lot of it has to do with her golf swing. She has a natural swing, and she can hit it hard and accurate. She’s got great hand-eye coordination, and she’s got speed that carries over from her soccer days. She can chase down plays wherever the ball goes and she had great court awareness. As her confidence grew, her net game got better, too, and she was intimidating out there in her senior season.”
On initial impression of Anna as a tennis player
“It was one of those, ‘Oh, thank God’ moments. I was so glad she came out after I pestered her to come out for tennis for pretty much her entire high school career. She was such a great presence out there, and she fit in with all the girls, too. Everyone enjoyed their time with her.
“The hardest part of adding her to the team was convincing her that she wasn’t stepping on any toes by joining the team. Once we convinced her that wasn’t the case, she felt right at home. By the midway point of that first season, girls were coming up to me and just saying they were happy to have Anna around. She was a great addition to the team both as a talented athlete and all-around great person.”
On career growth
“This past year was when she really took her game to the next level. The competition was so much harder at No. 1 doubles. I think she got good experience last year, but her game took off this past spring. Her net game improved a lot, too. She’s got no fear out there and a lot of kids are afraid to get that close to the net, because the ball is coming out fast. She has such quick reflexes, and she learned placement shots and really improved a lot there.”
On favorite memory coaching Kramer
“I think watching her and McKenzie win the regional championship was pretty special. After watching them win a share of the conference championship as an unseeded team and then storm to the regional championship match, you kind of had a feeling they were poised to win it.
“The regional title match against Coopersville was moved to the following Monday because Coopersville had already played their limit of daily matches, so it was just the Coopersville coach and our team at our home tennis court, cheering on Anna and McKenzie. It was a very intimate setting for a such a big stage, and that made it even more special.
“Once the match started, Anna just took control. Her and McKenzie played lights out and really set the tone. They won the first set pretty easily and then swept the second set, 6-0, to win the regional title.”
Whether it was golf, tennis or even soccer, Spring Lake’s Anna Kramer excelled at it. Her natural athletism combined with her competitive prowess, make her one of the top choices for this year’s countdown.
Tribune Top 5 Female Athletes Countdown
Honorable Mention: Reiko Johnson and Emily Winicki
No. 5: Kathryn Ackerman
No. 4: Cassie Kingma
No. 3: Alli Keyser
No. 2: Anna Kramer
No. 1: July 31