After an up-and-down regular season, Nashville High School junior Hope Rueter saved the best for last during the 2016 girls high school golf season.
The Hornettes’ top player throughout the year, Rueter dropped her scoring average four strokes into the upper 30s (for nine holes) and led the way for Nashville’s River-to-River Conference championship.
But like her dad, former major league pitcher Kirk Rueter, Hope Rueter was at her best in the postseason.
Rueter was second at both the Class A Trico Regional, where she shot 78, and at the Salem Sectional (77), leading Nashville to victory at both events. Then at the Class A state finals, held at Red Tail Run Golf Course in Decatur, Rueter shot rounds of 82 and 86 as she teamed with Rachel Kell to help Nashville to a second-place finish.
“I wasn’t really disappointed in finishing second at the regional and sectional because I knew that I had tried my best and shot pretty good rounds,” Rueter said. “I helped my team win both and made it to the state tournament. That’s what really matters. At state, I played good the first round and maybe not as well the second day. But again, I helped our team place second in the state finals. That’s something to really be proud of.”
Rueter’s season didn’t go unnoticed. The Hornettes standout has been chosen as the Belleville News-Democrat Class A Co-player of the Year. She shares the honor with teammate Rachel Kell.
The latest in a long line of standout players at Nashville, Rueter follow in the footsteps of former greats, such as Shawn Rennegarbe and Natalie Johnson, who went on to sign NCAA Division I scholarships.
Nashville coach Doug Kell said Rueter’s success and improvement as the season went on was a result of pure determination.
“To be honest, Hope was a little inconsistent at times during the regular season. She would have a couple of rounds where she might struggle a little bit, then she would come back and have a couple of really strong rounds,” Kell said. “But did she ever play well in the postseason.
“There is no magic formula or secrets to success in the sport. Those who work the hardest and practice the most are the ones who have the most success. Shawn (Rennegarbe) and Natalie Johnson are two examples of that. You’re not going to find many other players who work as hard on their games as Hope Rueter.”
Rueter’s 2016 state tournament experience was far better then her first trip to Decatur a year ago. Battling cold and windy conditions, Rueter shot rounds of 108 and 104 to finish in 90th place with a 212 score.
This time around, playing as the Hornettes No. 1 player and concentrating more on helping the team than her own score, Rueter’s 36-hole score was 40 shots better and placed her 68 spots higher at 22nd.
“I also think having the team with me this year helped a lot, and the fact that I had been here before was also a factor,” she said. “I was nervous, but not as much as I was a year ago because I knew what to expect this year.”
Rueter spends a lot of time in the offseason working with Stonewolf Golf Club head professional Don Hawkins.
“I think I improved in a lot of areas over the last year. My irons have become more accurate, I’m putting better and I’m longer and straighter off the tee,” Rueter said. “My goal for next year is just to do better than I did this year and help my team get back to the state tournament once again. As long as I continue to improve, I’ll be happy.”