Mill Valley golfer Bella Hadden spent most of her senior season playing through illness.
At one tournament in September, she couldn’t breathe through her nose — yet she shot a 73 and won by 7 strokes.
By the end of the season, she was borderline anemic.
But she earned first team all-state and all-Eastern Kansas League honors for the second year in a row and was the Class 5A runner-up, anyway.
And on Tuesday, Hadden was chosen the 2017 Kenneth Smith Award recipient.
The award honors a Kansas City area male and female golfer who demonstrates excellence in performance, academic achievement, leadership and community service.
“My coach showed me the list of who won it before me and I instantly knew it was a pretty big honor to be selected for it,” said Hadden, who recently signed a letter of intent to continue her golfing career at Central Missouri.
Hadden shot a 79 and finished second in the Class 5A championship. She finished in the top six in six regular-season full-field tournaments, including first place finishes at the Cat Classic, the Blue Valley North Invitational and the Free State Invitational. She also won her regional to earn a fourth trip to the state tournament, where Mill Valley placed fifth.
She was second in the Eastern Kansas League standings to Blue Valley West senior Molly Saporito, who also signed on to golf at Central Missouri next year.
Hadden is a four-sport athlete with a 4.146 weighted grade-point average.
She was also selected as a PGA Midwest Section junior golf student-athlete.
“The amount of recognition that I’ve gotten after this season was more than I ever could have expected or hoped for,” Hadden said. “I’ve got to give thanks to my parents. I wouldn’t be in this situation without them.”
The Kenneth L. and Eva S. Smith Foundation presented a $5,000 contribution in Hadden’s honor to The First Tee of Kansas City to support its child development programs.