La Follette junior getting a 'kick' out of unique opportunity - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

La Follette junior getting a 'kick' out of unique opportunity

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MADISON (WKOW) -- A consistent kicking game is a luxury at the high school level. It's a luxury La Follette kickers coach Taylor VanderWoude did not have in his first season at the school.

"The year before (last season) we had to go for two points every time. So, I mean it's huge for us to get that extra point after touchdowns."

The La Follette coaching staff searched high and low for an accurate kicker. They discovered that rare commodity in an unusual place...the girls soccer field.

A year ago, Jenna Smith made school history as the first female varsity football player at La Follette. That inspired junior Hanna Hilgendorf to follow suit this season.

"The fact that she did it first really helped set the pace for me. Like if she hadn't done it, I don't know if I could be as confident."

Hilgendorf approached head coach Mike Harris about trying out this season. He showed Hilgendorf some instructional videos. Then, her future teammates gave her a few lessons.

"Some of her teammates took her out all summer long. They came right on the fields here and practiced all summer long with the kicking. Proof's in the pudding, she's doing a great job for us."

In the first two games, Hilgendorf has connected on 10-of-11 kicks.

"If you go out there not confident, you're not going to make it because you have to believe in what you're doing."

Hilgendorf has made her teammates believe in her. She hopes she is proving a girl can be just one of the guys.

"They're all really good friends of mine. They're all like big brothers to me. They take care of me no matter what. And I think it's not just a sport just for boys."

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