FORT WAYNE – All of Katie Giants offseason work seems to be paying dividends at the right time.
The Bishop Dwenger junior spent her time away from the high school season the last couple of summers working on various parts of her game, and just as the stakes are getting higher, the improvements are beginning to show up.
Two weeks ago Giant, the Saints No. 2 player, shot an 80 at McMillen to win SAC medalist honors, and then last week Giant led the Saints to an Angola Sectional championship at Zollner with another 80, good for second place individually.
Ive been playing really consistently, Giant said. I was up and down, and Ive put a lot of work into it. Ive taken it more seriously. Looking at other really good players inspired me to be like them. I just pushed myself to where I could be.
Giant played in about a dozen tournaments this past summer to help hone her game and began to see results when she finished second at the High School Invitational at Fort Wayne Country Club in June.
She has been pretty dedicated to playing, Dwenger coach Kurt Leffers said. She gets out, and she is usually one of the first one out hitting and the last one off the practice range. She enjoys golf, and she wants to play in college. She has her name out there, but nothing has come of it yet.
Leffers said during a recent slump, Giant went to see a swing coach who helped with her stance. Giants nine-hole average is 42 with a low of 37.
My driving has been a lot more consistent, and I hit it a lot further by getting stronger over the offseason, Giant said. I continue to work on my short game; its still not there with chipping and stuff. Thats where mainly I am losing shots, and thats where I am going to work in the offseason is my short game. I worked out a lot over the winter because Im not very muscular, so I needed a lot more strength to swing through the ball.
Leffers also said Giant has worked on her game on the greens.
One of the things we really had to work on was her putting, but shes starting to roll the ball a lot smoother and they are starting to go at the right tempo, Leffers said. She has gotten to know most of the greens in town speed-wise. We have played most of the courses, and she is feeling comfortable with her pitching and putting. She has been able to get up and down and save some strokes.
Giant led the Saints to their third straight SAC and sectional titles and, along with No. 1 player Nellie Lee, Dwenger is looking for even more postseason success Saturday in the East Noble Regional at Noble Hawk.
Its been a pretty good 1-2 combo, Leffers said of Lee and Giant. Nellie went through a little bit of a swing slump herself the past 8-10 months, but she is starting to come out of it. As a freshman and sophomore, she was hitting low 80s and once hit 70s before her slump. When she is on, she hits the ball as far as anybody on my team. I have been waiting for both of them to come together and shoot low the same day.