FRONT ROW WITH JASON ELLIOTT: Now a golfer who also plays tennis, Lakeland junior Hanna enjoys traveling the state in both sports

Already qualified for state tennis as a sophomore, Lakeland High junior Brady Hanna was expecting to be back in the 4A tournament.


So when Hanna, who also plays on the Hawks golf team, also qualified for the state in the sport that same week, the work really began.

HANNA WAS a runner-up in the 4A District 1 Golf Tournament at the University of Idaho Golf Course on May 9, shooting 10 of 82 to qualify for state by finishing in the top three individually. On May 13, Hanna and her doubles partner Cole Andres qualified for the 4A State Tennis Tournament after finishing second in the boys’ doubles at the Moscow School District Community Playgrounds.

It was his first golf appearance after finishing two strokes before qualifying as a sophomore. His freshman year of tennis and golf was wiped out due to COVID-19.

“I was a tennis player who played golf,” Hanna said. “But I think now it’s become the opposite of that. I started to focus more on improving golf and just playing tennis for fun and still trying to compete too.

Brady added that he spent more time playing golf with his father, Lakeland boys’ basketball coach Tony Hanna, who was formerly a golf professional before going into real estate.

“I think that’s really what got me to this point right now with golf is working with him,” Brady Hanna said. “He was kind of my coach so to speak. But he was one of my biggest golf influences.

Brady Hanna competed in state golf at Lakeview Golf Club in Meridian on May 16 and 17, a Monday and Tuesday, then stayed in the Boise area with his father before competing in state tennis on May 20 and 21. May, a Friday and a Saturday.

“It was more homework and catching up,” Hanna said of her downtime while waiting for the tennis team to arrive Thursday. “There was a bit of mental preparation to move into tennis and have a teammate. But it was a lot of homework most of the time.

Hanna finished 30th in the 4A State Golf Tournament, finishing with an 89-91—180. The top 10 received medals.

“I feel like I underperformed a bit,” Hanna said. “But it was still a fun experience to see this level of competition and a new course.”

Temperatures for the state golf tournament were in the mid-80s for both days.

“Endurance was an issue, and that usually comes into play on the second day,” said Lakeland first-year golf coach Rick Anderson. “I think the fact that he was alone helped a bit there. Some of the guys who had teammates there, they didn’t rest as well. Brady, having no other teammates, was able to rest and do what he needed to do.

With a few days off between competitions, Hanna golfed at Quail Hollow Golf Course in Boise and visited Boise State University with her father while waiting for state tennis to begin last Friday.

“Boise State has been on my radar for college for a few years,” Hanna said. “It was nice to have the chance to check it out while I had the chance.”

STARTING THIS fall, the 5A and 4A golf seasons will be played in the fall, with state tournaments scheduled for October, giving Hanna the flexibility to focus on one sport at a time.

“It’s going to come in handy,” Hanna said. “More than anything, being able to focus on one sport will be a big deal. Doing both has helped me more mentally more than anything to be ready for the next thing.

As for golfing in the fall?

“I think it’s going to be a good change,” Hanna said. “With summer just ahead, you can go out and play more and transition from summer to season. The weather in the fall is generally better than in the spring anyway.

As a sophomore, Hanna went 0-2 in state tennis, playing doubles with Brady Manko. This year, Hanna and Andres qualified for day two, falling in the consolation round.

“It’s telling how good some of the players are down south,” Hanna said of tennis. “You see some of these players playing all day, every day, and that’s kind of a challenge they face.”

“What stands out about Brady’s tennis game is his grit and absolute determination to never give up on one point,” Lakeland freshman tennis coach Bill Ryan said. “Sliding, jumping, diving – he’s really fun to watch.”

Hanna added that playing tennis has also increased her athletic ability.

“It really helped me in terms of flexibility,” said Hanna, whose mother is Post Falls High volleyball coach Willow Hanna. “There were certain things about playing both, like slowing my momentum from one to the other. I don’t think there’s much of a negative impact to trying to do both sports, other than all the schoolwork you miss.

It wasn’t too often, but Hanna missed a few tennis practices because of golf. During the school year, golf matches were held in the morning, leaving Hanna able to attend tennis practice afterwards. Hanna has no class for the last period of the day, which gives her the chance to get to golf practice earlier than most of her teammates and then go to tennis practice.

“He once came from a weekday morning game in Coeur d’Alene to practice tennis in the afternoon,” Ryan said. “Even though we didn’t expect him to. He had a great commitment to his team and his partner to try to improve every day. He is also a great student.

“For the state tournament, he and Cole haven’t changed from being the most scrappy team. He worked all year to keep the emotional level even throughout a match and was great with that in the state.

A week later, Hanna added that he still wasn’t fully caught up with the class.

“It hasn’t been easy,” Hanna said. “I’m still trying to catch up a bit, but it was worth it anyway. It was hard trying to catch up on all the stuff (homework) but it was nice to have those days off, not having to drive anywhere and staying in one place was really helpful.

As for the sequel, you can call the experience of playing two sports in one season another lesson learned.

“If I could do it all over again, I think I would,” Hanna said. “I probably would have worked on my golf game a little more during my downtime between regionals and state next time. It was kind of a challenge to be caught up by the school. But I look forward to both seasons next year, not just the two in the spring. It should be a fun year.

Jason Elliott is a sports reporter for The Press. He can be reached by phone at 208-664-8176, Ext. 2020 or by email at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @JECdAPress.