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Annie Huizenga: Two-sport athlete aims to 'leave Calvin on a high note'
By Drew De Vries
Annie Huizenga

Annie Huizenga (Hudsonville, Mich.)

One could say Calvin senior Annie Huizenga does it all. This Unity Christian High School alumna from Hudsonville, Mich., was Calvin's best female golfer for the past three years, but she also plays on the women's tennis team, filling the No. 4 singles slot and a spot on Calvin's No. 2 doubles team. While juggling her two sports, she also finds time for academics and has earned a spot on the MIAA Academic Honor Roll (cumulative grade point average of 3.5 or above) the past three years.

"It's very challenging," Huizenga said of playing two sports and still finding time for school, "but it all comes down to managing my time well. I've known when to buckle down and work efficiently."

This fall Huizenga was named to the All-MIAA second team while posting the best MIAA single-season average in Calvin women's golf history—86.2 strokes per round—and finished seventh individually in MIAA standings. She also took first-place honors at the Calvin-Hope Invitational for the second straight year, but the two-day MIAA Tournament hosted by Albion featured Huizenga's best: She fired rounds of 86 and 83, finishing fifth at the tournament. Because of those two rounds, she broke the Calvin single-season scoring record, which also included scores from three MIAA outings held earlier in the year.

Huizenga said it felt great to go out on the top of her game. "I went into the weekend having nothing to lose and felt very confident. I received lots of encouragement and confidence from my coach and friends and I was very pleased with the results."

Because of her achievements on the women's golf team, Huizenga had the privilege of taking on a team leadership role. "It's been exciting because I've had the chance to step up into a position that I never thought I'd be in. I'm just so happy to be here," she said.

So was the rest of the golf team. Huizenga was not planning on playing golf for Calvin until women's golf coach Jerry Bergsma contacted her after her senior year of high school.

Huizenga didn't begin playing golf until her senior year because she had been on the soccer team. Since playing at Calvin, though, she developed a love for the game and has been working hard to improve.

To prepare for this past golf season, Huizenga participated in tournaments and practiced relentlessly. While making an effort to play five days a week, she also took lessons in order to push herself and focus on the areas of her game that needed improvement. She played in the Women's City Championship at Sunnybrook Country Club in Jenison, Mich., and also in a 36-hole tournament at Grand Valley State University, which tested her endurance.

In the same way she prepares for golf, Huizenga is preparing for the upcoming tennis season by setting realistic goals. She would like to have a similarly successful season because she wants "that same feeling." "I want the team to finish higher in rankings than the golf team did and to overall have a strong season so I can leave Calvin on a high note," she said.

Setting realistic goals is something Huizenga learned during a mid-August trip to Montana with a number of other Calvin athletes. She participated in the five-day Gainey Athletic Retreat, which focuses on developing leadership skills among captains and team leaders. It was her second time participating in the retreat, and Huizenga was able to work for Calvin's Coordinator for Christian Formation Aaron Winkle.

"I felt honored to be asked to go my first time," Huizenga said of the retreat. "I learned the role of being an athlete and about team commitment and community while being able to become close as a team. It's so beautiful out there, and I definitely experienced some spiritual highs."

The upcoming tennis season is not all that is on Huizenga's mind. She is getting married in June and plans on moving to where her fiancé receives a job in the medical field. In the meantime, Huizenga is finishing her elementary education major by student teaching at Ada Christian School in Ada, Mich.

Read a Winter 2004 Knightfile article on Huizenga's sophomore season, too.