What the Gering girls golf team accomplished the past two seasons was outstanding and a senior member of those teams will keep competing in golf after Avery Mitchell inked with the University of Nebraska at Kearney golf program Friday at Monument Shadows Golf Course.
Mitchell was looking at several places, but decided UNK was too good to pass up.
“I have family there but that wasn’t the biggest reason I wanted to go there,” Mitchell said. “It will help, though. I also love the coach, the team was great, and where they practice is an awesome course. They have three courses there that are really great. They have winter facilities there that are really nice. I am just excited to be able to continue there.”
Gering coach Jessica Boswell said Mitchell will do great at UNK.
“She is a great team player,” Boswell said. “I know she will practice and I have watched her practice since the summer before seventh grade on the junior tour stuff, so I was watching her improve. When she knows there is something she needs to improve on she goes out and works on it. I know she will take that team camaraderie. It won’t be as the same she had here, but I know from playing college golf, being a part of a team is awesome and making those friendships. Just getting to play in college is a great opportunity.”
The past three years, the Gering golf team finished in the top five of the state tournament, including back-to-back Class B runner-up finishes the past two years. Last year, the Bulldogs took second at state while Scottsbluff won the title.
Mitchell capped off her senior season with a third-place finish at the district meet where she fired an 80. She then finished 13th at the Nebraska State Golf Championships with a 2-day total of 180 (86-94).
Mitchell said she has improved her game over the years.
“I have really improved a lot through the years,” she said. “I found different things in my swing that helped me hit it further, putt better, or chip better. It is a slow grow kind of thing. It is crazy to look back at your freshman year to see what you were scoring and then looking at now and the difference.”
She can even improve her playing even more at UNK. She said that will allow her to keep playing with a team for another four years.
“It is exciting to be able to compete in golf,” she said. “Golf really is a lifetime sport so it isn’t like I will quit playing after college. But I think it is exciting that I get to compete at the college level.”
The hardest part for her, though, is leaving the group of girls she is with right now.
“It has been really awesome to be a part of a winning team,” she said. “We always have a great environment together. We have a great team and it has been awesome to be able to play with them and win with them, to practice in the summer to get better with them.”
When Mitchell isn’t golfing, she is also playing soccer. Mitchell is a 3-year varsity player for the girl’s soccer team. She has seven goals in three seasons, including scoring five goals last year. Last year, Mitchell scored twice in a 10-0 win over Torrington, and then had one goal each in a 4-0 win over Holdrege, a 3-0 win over Scottsbluff, and a 4-2 win over Scottsbluff.
When Mitchell heads to UNK, she is planning on majoring in pre-physical therapy. As for her high school golf teammates, Mitchell said they will stay in contact.
“It will be a big change not having my team around me, but I don’t think it will change much because have gotten so close,” she said. “I know we will keep in contact. But, it will be different next year in not being able to see them every day.”