Two days after she tied for first place in the schoolgirl golf championship in October, Jenna Hallett of Presque Isle was having surgery on her left knee.
Brittle bones in the knee, a similar condition to her dad Greg’s, had given Hallett problems since middle school.
“They reconstructed my knee,” said Hallett, a junior. “My knee bone had splintered and the doctor put screws where it had splintered. He put in new knee cartiliage where it had been bone rubbing against bone.”
She’s doing well in rehabilitation.
“It’s been almost a month since the surgery. I’m getting a lot better and riding the stationary bike,” she said.
The typical recovery time for the operation, said Hallett, is 6 to 9 months, which would have her ready for next fall’s high school golf season.
Even with a balky knee, Hallett played well for the Wildcats. She was the team’s No. 2 player and shot 89 from the men’s tees in the Penobscot Valley Conference qualifying for the state team championship.
She saved her best for the schoolgirl championship, where she shot a 76. She tied with Bailey Plourde, a freshman from Lincoln Academy, for the championship. Hallett is the Maine Sunday Telegram’s girls’ golf Player of the Year.
“On the first hole my knee locked up on my tee shot and I skulled it,” said Hallett. “I made bogey on the first hole and then I went par, double bogey and birdie. The birdie helped pull my game together.”
Coming home, Hallett birdied her 17th hole and parred the last hole with a clutch 5-footer.
Hallet and her brother, Jordan, were introduced to golf by their father, who felt it was a sport the family could play together. The family also skis but that will have to wait for her until next winter.
Hallett takes lessons from Barry Madore, the golf pro at Presque Isle Country Club, where she also works in the summer. With her knee problems, golf was a sport she could play. She dropped soccer, basketball and tennis to concentrate on golf.
“Barry taught me how to swing the club,” said Hallet, who won the girls’ Maine Junior Amateur title in August at Val Halla in Cumberland. Hallett shot 86-80-166.
“I’m really focused on golf. The biggest thing I’ve worked on is the mental aspect. It comes with patience and time,” she said.
Hallett is a straight-A student who was recently named to the National Honor Society.
Golf has been a nice outlet.
“She loves it,” said her mother, Jennifer, who also plays. “Golf has given her a lot of opportunity to meet people, She’s grown to love the sport.”
Hallett has a follow-up exam with her surgeon next month, where she will get a better idea of her recovery timetable. She hopes to play next summer to get ready for the high school season.
No longer will she have to take Advil before a round like she did this fall, nor will her knee swell up to look like, she said, “I had two kneecaps.”
Hallett will look to have a successful – and painless – senior season in 2014.
“I would like to get some college offers. That would be nice,” she said.
Tom Chard can be contacted at 791-6419 or at:email@example.comTwitter:TomChardPPH