Darren Doyle, story and photos:
It's rare when Edmonson County has the privilege of being represented at the KHSAA Girls' State Golf Championships, in fact, it's only been done four other times in the school's history, but when it happens to be two sisters coached by their dad, it's even more special.
Senior Lady Cat golfer Makayla Hogg, who also is a member of Edmonson's softball team, made her second consecutive cut to the state competition, which is the third consecutive year for Edmonson County, dating back to Paige Wolfe two years ago. To qualify for state, one must be a member of the top two finishing teams at the regional tournament or one of the top 10 individual finishers. Scores from players who are members of the top two teams are removed from individual results, allowing more opportunity for individuals not on top finishing teams. This means those finishing as far back as 17 have a shot at qualifying for state.
Last year, Makayla was the last one in with a score of 93 for a number 17 ranking. This year, after she qualified, they waited for the results of her younger sister, Abigail, a sophomore, who is also a member of Lady Cat softball and a varsity cheerleader, to be calculated with the rest of the scores. Coincidentally, her score was a 93 and she was number 17 on the list, and the final competitor named to the state competition.
As if that wasn't unique enough, their father, Caleb Hogg, was named head coach of the girls' team this season. The Hogg family moved from Florida to Edmonson County in 2019 and immediately became part of the community. They began attending a local church, Melinda Hogg (mom and wife) began teaching at Kyrock Elementary, Caleb took a job with a local company, and the girls became involved with programs and sports at Edmonson County Schools. Yesterday's competition, held at Calvert City Golf and Country Club, was indeed a family affair.
While the results of yesterday's match for Makayla and Abigail weren't enough to move them into today's second round of play, they shared their experiences on a number of golf-related items with the Edmonson Voice.
Makayla, who started playing golf around the age of 9, said this year has been filled with many positives, as she's practiced more, seen her team grow and improve, and achieved a personal best more than once this season.
"We had fun this season and accomplished several things," said Makayla. "After I found out I was going to state, my main goal was to shoot better than I did last year. After the first hole, I knew I had to tighten it up real quick."
While she didn't beat her last year's score, she wasn't upset.
"I was pretty nervous on the first few holes, and it showed. But then I thought, 'you know what? I won't make it to the second round, but it's not that big of a deal at the end of the day. There's worse things that can happen.' I was still smiling at the end."
She was indeed smiling. Slapping a high-five to her dad and being embraced by her mother on the final hole, she was still wearing a large grin.
Younger sister Abigail once said she'd never play golf, after falling out of a moving golf cart at age 5, skinning up her arms and legs, but she eventually came around and picked up the clubs. She also discussed her season, and the dynamics of playing along with her family.
"The season was a success for me," Abigail said. "I shot a personal best several times and of course, made it to the state tournament, which was a big deal for me."
She also credited other team members for being great teammates and she enjoyed watching them succeed as well, reaching personal bests and improving in multiple categories.
Abigail played in the first group of the day but said she wasn't too nervous.
"I was just happy to be there, especially as a sophomore, and with my sister," she said.
Both also discussed being coached by their dad.
"It has its moments," said Makayla as she cut her eyes over to Caleb with a grin. "But it does help. I've known him for all my 18 years. Yeah, we butt heads sometimes, but he's helped me and everyone on the team."
"It has its advantages and disadvantages," she said, also smiling. "Sometimes I wish he would be quiet but I don't know how to say that nicely, at least without getting into trouble."
She said at the end of the day, it's always good to have her dad around.
"When I have a bad moment or a breakdown and start to cry, well, he's my dad first and foremost, and he's always going to be there for me."
Caleb discussed getting looks from other teams and parents when he says "Let's go Hogg!"
"It seems like I always have to tell at least one person that our last name is Hogg. I get some funny looks when others hear me say "Come on, Hogg!" or "Pay attention, Hogg!"
In softball, teammates call Makayla "Hogg," and Abigail "Piglet." Coach Caleb Hogg discussed his season with his daughters and other team members.
"It gets tiring at times, just like anything else, but I wouldn't trade it for anything," he said with an occasional flutter of emotion in his voice. "We had 5 girls that were good together, played well together and got along, and they wanted each other to do better."
He discussed how happy he was to have the opportunity to coach both his girls, go to state, and share that moment with his family. He also talked about next year.
"We've had so much support from our community and I'm excited for next year. We have two returning players and they're good golfers," (including freshman Elizabeth Talley and Abigail).
The Hoggs also have a younger brother, Jacob, who attends Kyrock Elementary. It's likely he'll pick up a golf club or baseball bat, under the close eye of his mother, of course, so that he doesn't do something with them he shouldn't.
No trophies were handed out and no other awards were presented to the girls after yesterday's round, but the Hoggs still went out in hog heaven, after making the cut from 57 players in the regional tournament last week. They join the ranks of other memorable Lady Cat golfers to make the state tournament that include Michelle (Ulm) Coleman, collegiate golfer Kayla Meredith, and Paige Wolfe.
Wildcat boy's golf Coach Shane Doyle assisted Hogg in the tournament yesterday. Both have completed their first season as head coaches for ECHS golf.