Forest Grove senior Hannah Swanson will play Division I college golf for the Beavers

Ultimately, Hannah Swanson decided to follow in her father’s footsteps.

Swanson, a senior at Forest Grove High School and the reigning Class 6A girls golf state champion, signed her national letter of intent last Tuesday with Oregon State University. She will start her freshman year at the Corvallis school next fall.

“It was exciting to have all my friends and family there supporting me, and then also just a relief to just finally start my next chapter and get ready for bigger things,” Swanson said about her signing.

Swanson’s parents, Greg and Kelly, attended last week’s signing staged in the high school’s Basinski Center, as did athletic director Doug Thompson, Forest Grove golf coach Bobby Rymer, several of Swanson’s Forest Grove teammates, and her aunt and grandmothers.

Signing with Oregon State, Greg Swanson’s alma mater, fulfills a long-held dream for the golfer to play at the Division I level. She is receiving a scholarship that covers half of her attendance costs, she said, though she could earn more money in future years based on her performance.

“My dad is a golfer, so we’ve always shared that bond and we always practiced together, and it’s always been a dream of ours,” Swanson noted.

Swanson received contact from schools across the country, and she visited some California schools over this past spring break, she said. In the end, nothing appealed more to her than joining the Beavers.

“In the back of my mind, I was like, ‘I like OSU,’” said Swanson, whose family has season tickets to Beavers football games.

In the end, Swanson’s familiarity with the campus, OSU coaches and players won out.

Swanson has played against several current OSU players in junior golf events. And Beavers head coach Rise Alexander was on hand to watch Swanson play in the past two high school golf state tournaments, including this past May’s at Quail Valley Golf Course in Banks, where Swanson charged from behind with a record-setting round on the second day to capture her first prep title. This summer, she also won the Portland City/Bob Allard Memorial, finished fourth in the Peter Jacobsen Junior Challenge and tied for fourth in the Oregon Junior Stroke Play tournament.

Swanson plans to study business and marketing at OSU. By competing in the Pac-12 Conference, she not only will get the chance to play in some warm-weather locales during her college career, but she will also get to do it against some of the best competition in the country.

“I wanted to play against the best of the best,” said Swanson, who noted that USC is the reigning national champion. “Pac-12, that’s where they are.”

Rymer, for one, is excited to see where Swanson’s college career takes her. His senior star does not yet play golf completely year-round — Swanson also plays basketball for the Vikings — so with her making the move to full-time golf in college, “the potential is dang near endless for her with the talent she has.”

The area where Swanson could improve the most, Rymer felt, is in her short game.

“If she can get better and putt a little better, she’s going to be just lights-out,” he said.

She will get just the chance to do that close to home, wearing Oregon State’s orange and black.

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