WEST JEFFERSON — Ashe County High School senior Sarah Hardin will continue her golf career close to home. Hardin signed her National Letter of Intent on Wednesday afternoon to play golf at Appalachian State University.
Hardin considered a lot of different things before making her college choice, but in the end, App State was the best fit. Her father, Steven Hardin, graduated from Appalachian and they have always been big Mountaineer fans.
“I wanted to stay in state, and I kind of wanted to get away, but then when it gets closer, I’m getting more anxious about living on my own so I’m glad I’ll just be going to Boone,” Sarah said.
Sarah also felt a nice connection to Heather Brown, the head coach of the women’s golf program at Appalachian.
“I reached out at the beginning of this year and we met and talked,” Hardin said.
Hardin will receive a partial scholarship to continue her golf career.
Sarah considered several other programs including Western Carolina, Emory & Henry and Radford University, and she had some smaller programs that recruited her pretty heavily.
Hardin’s high school career sets her above and beyond anyone else that has ever been a part of the program. She qualified for the state championship tournament all four years and helped lead the Lady Huskies to a pair of Mountain Valley Athletic Conference Championships. This year, Hardin was a big part of helping Ashe beat Watauga for the first time in program history, defeating the Pioneers twice during this season.
“I’ve never had a Division 1 player ever so I’m tickled to death for her,” said Ashe County head coach Laura Foster. “What sets Sarah apart is her relentless work ethic and I hope that people see that any sport that you play is hard, but you’ve got to commit your time and dedicate and be fully invested in it and she has. That’s just admirable to me. I’m glad to see someone that works that hard to find success. You’ve got to work hard to be successful, it doesn’t come to you, you’ve got to work for it and she has. I’m so happy for her and her family.”
Coach Foster said she knew right away in Sarah’s freshman year that she had a chance to be a terrific golfer. Hardin was an all-conference performer as a freshman and each of the three years after that, and with only five golfers earning all-conference recognition during the season, that’s a big achievement.
Nathan Ham can be reached at 336-489-3062.