CEDAR FALLS — Hannah Bermel isn’t slowing down as she nears the finishing hole of her high school golf career.
Over the past week, the Cedar Falls senior broke a four-round metro meet record set by 2000 Waterloo West state champion Jenny Heinz, earned medalist honors in a six-team tournament in Fort Dodge that Cedar Falls won by 98 strokes and then shot under par with a 18-hole round of 69 Monday for a divisional medal at Cedar Rapids’ Ellis Park.
“It’s really hard as a high school girls’ golfer to be able to have consistency and mental toughness like she has,” Cedar Falls coach Megan Youngkent said of the returning state individual runner-up. “She can have a really bad round and she still sees big picture. She’s been able to save herself many times on a golf course. She’ll have a shot that she’s not happy with, but instead of thinking about that shot, she’s already moved on to the next one.
“The most important thing with my entire team is that there’s not a team that works harder. We get home from a meet and Hannah is out on the range making all those quick fixes before they can become big problems.”
Certainly, time on the golf course has been part of Bermel’s upbringing. The daughter of John and Tracy Bermel is a member of family of six that has impacted the Cedar Falls scene. Her older sister, Abby, and brother, Jake, played golf on John’s UNI team. Hannah and her twin sister, Hailey, are committed to join the Panthers following graduation and their youngest brother Ben often travels with them to summer tournaments where Hannah says she competes twice most weeks.
“Golf is a sport that I’m going to be able to play for the rest of my life,” Hannah Bermel said. “The fact that my whole family plays it too, that’s kind of how we bond with each other. Growing up with it, I feel like it taught me a lot of lessons on how to be responsible.
“Golf has taught me how to be efficient and reliable. I have to be responsible for having my score and having good character to always say the right thing.”
Character is one world Youngkent would use to describe the Bermel family.
“I don’t think there’s a team that’s treated better in the state than John treats Cedar Falls girls’ golf,” Youngkeny said. “He just wants them to be successful. He’s such a qualify person and he raises qualify children.
“Take their golf scores away, I just enjoy being around Hailey and Hannah, and I enjoyed being around Abby when she was playing. Then you look at their scores and obviously they’re very valuable to the Cedar Falls golf team and it’s added to our history and what we’ve been able to achieve in the last 10, 15 years.”
Despite her solid golf background Hannah admits she had to overcome nerves as a freshman and sophomore before becoming more mature with course management as an upperclassmen. Her growth culminated in an impressive finish to her junior season when Bermel held the 18-hole lead and finished runner-up individually in Class 5A’s state meet, helping lead Cedar Falls to a team title score of 643 that tied for the fourth-best 36-hole mark in Iowa history.
“Last year, I don’t think I thought of myself as one of those top 10 players in the state,” Bermel said. “Finishing second and having the lead after the first day just really helps with my confidence.
“We obviously want to go back and perform as well as we did last year. I think our main goal is not to underestimate our opponents. We know they want to win as bad as we do. Personally, I have the same goals as my team.”
Youngkent still sees room for growth from Hannah and Hailey, and is excited to see what they’re capable of achieving at UNI. Mackenzie Roberts is another member of the team’s strong senior class, planning to continue her golf career at Wartburg.
After establishing herself among the Cedar Valley’s golfing greats by breaking the metro record set by Heinz, Bermel has the potential to impact the local golf scene for years to come.
“Jenny Heinz was an exceptional golfer and she still is making a name for herself in the golf world,” Youngkent said. “To have Hannah able to beat her (record), hopefully this is one of those things that 10 years from now we’re going to be talking about Hannah Bermel. I hope we’re talking about this whole team for a while.”