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Student-Athlete of the Week: Sam Hoover

 

August 31, 2018

Junior Sam Hoover (left, with older brother Jack) has improved significantly this season and hopes to help lead the Cougars back to the Class 4A state tournament.

During this first two seasons with the Niwot golf team, Sam Hoover was content to let his older brother Jack absorb the spotlight. In 2018, however, the younger Hoover is emerging from that shadow little by little. Not only is he playing the best golf of his career, he has also cultivated a rival he doesn’t share a last name with.

As Niwot’s number three golfer, Sam has scored among the top-five in three of six events this season, including a fourth-place finish at the third annual Resurrection Christian Chip Challenge at Windsor’s Highland Meadows GC on Aug. 22. There, he carded a personal-best 72 (+1), one stroke better than senior Jack, who came in at 73. Sam’s previous career-best came a week earlier at the Spartan Invitational in Greeley, where his 78 (+7) put him in a tie for fifth place, this time just one stroke behind Jack. So far in 2018, Sam is averaging 81 per round, about 10 strokes better than at the same point in 2017.

“It’s the maturity he gained going from a sophomore to a junior,” Niwot head coach Ed Weaver said of the younger Hoover’s development. “He’s matured, his game has matured, and he’s been working hard on all aspects of his game.”

Sam confirmed that he has been playing and practicing frequently since last year’s 52nd-place finish at the Class 4A state tournament, especially on driving and hitting his irons. He said he’s also been motivated this season by a budding (but friendly) rivalry with junior Austin Magnuson of Northridge.

“We were energizing each other and making it fun,” Sam said of his performance at the Spartan Invite. “We were competing well. We have similar skill levels and both of our teams are good, so we’re learning to play well together.”

Since they started “caring about our score” in 2015, it’s been hard to find the Hoover brothers outside of a golf course. When they’re not playing, the brothers are cleaning carts, collecting range balls, or fixing chipping greens at Fox Hill. In the classroom, Sam enjoys math and hopes to study golf management in college in a few years.

Until then, Sam is focusing on “taking the big scores off the card,” and helping the Niwot golf team be the best it can be.

“I’d like to compete at state as a team,” he said of his ultimate goals for the 2018 season. “And I want to continue to play well individual, and continue to get top-tens in league events.”

 

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