St. Joseph places fourth in Lauren Johnson Memorial (w/video, gallery)

Keldy  Ortiz

Feb. 8, 2014 at 8:04 p.m.
Updated Feb. 7, 2014 at 8:08 p.m.

St. Joseph junior Hannah Karasiuk takes a shot during the Lauren Johnson Memorial golf tournament at The Club at Colony Creek.

St. Joseph junior Hannah Karasiuk takes a shot during the Lauren Johnson Memorial golf tournament at The Club at Colony Creek.   IAN TERRY for The Victoria Advocate

Wearing layers of clothing Saturday morning was nothing new for Hannah Karasiuk.

What was new for Karasiuk was playing without a face mask.

A former hockey player, the St. Joseph junior competed in the Lauren Johnson Memorial on Saturday. She helped St. Joseph place fourth overall in the tournament, which was limited to one day of play because of inclement weather Friday.

"It definitely helps with your swing," Karasiuk, a former Canadian hockey player, said about playing hockey and golf. "I'm at that point where if I get better, my score will go down a lot."

Playing in her second Lauren Johnson Memorial tournament, Karasiuk found Saturday's play easier than her first time. She played with Victoria East last season.

"Other people were better than me, and I didn't like that," Karasiuk said when she first started playing. "So it definitely pushed me to get a lower score and get better."

In her first year playing golf, Karasiuk was selected as Newcomer of the Year in District 30-4A in 2013.

Kevin Karasiuk, Hannah's father, agreed the transition from hockey to golf was not difficult.

"It was really an easy transition because that was all that was here," Kevin Karasiuk said, laughing. "Living close to the golf course (helps). She wanted to naturally come and swing and hit the balls and practice and be around the club."

Along with Karasiuk, St. Joseph hopes to compete just as well as last year.

After St. Joseph played in the Lauren Johnson Memorial last season, it finished fifth in the TAPPS Class 4A state golf tournament.

At the state golf tournament, Chloe Velasco captured top individual honors. She finished first in the Lauren Johnson Memorial individual section Saturday but didn't think at the beginning of the day it was possible.

"The whole time, it was mainly a battle between me and my mind, trying to calm it down the entire time, just saying, 'mind, shut up; mind, shut up,' because it kept on trying to get ahead of myself," Velasco, a senior, said. "I just kept trying to get focused and stay in the present."

St. Joseph's second year coach, Mickey Daugherty, wasn't surprised about the team's finish because the team was not as experienced last year as this season.

"Getting to play with better players and stronger competition, when the time comes at the end of the year for regional and state tournaments, they've seen that type of competition," Daugherty said. "Some of them never played before."

Even with a fourth place finish, Karasiuk believes they can do well even if the weather is not perfect. At the start of Saturday's action, it was cloudy and 46 degrees.

"I think our team is going to get much better, to the point where our scores drop drastically," Karasiuk said. "I think I took away just dealing with the elements because it's good playing with competition, and that's the only way you cant get better. It's going to help us, hopefully, win state."



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