Freshman kicker Bryant Hahnfeldt delivers

It's no secret that the Vanderbilt football team struggled in the kicking department in the latter part of the 2004 season. Freshman placekicker Bryant Hahnfeldt's solid performance Thursday raised Vanderbilt fans' hopes that the team will be a lot steadier in the kicking department this season.

Bryant Hahnfeldt won the job during the final week of preseason practice and went on to score 6 of Vandy's 24 points against Wake Forest.

The true freshman came on strong in the first quarter Thursday night and his 34-yard field goal would tie the score at 3-3. The kick split the up rights down the middle and a sigh of relief could almost be heard among the Vanderbilt coaches, players, administrators and fans in attendance in Winston-Salem.

When asked what was going through his mind when he attempted the first field goal of his college career, the young kicker pointed out that he blocked everything out and just concentrated on the task at hand.

"Honestly, I was just focused on what I had to do, just keep my hips straight. I don't remember any noise or anything like that, I just went out to do what I had to do. Once you get your mindset you are focused on one thing and nothing else matters," said an elated but reserved Hahnfeldt.

Hahnfeldt, who would go on to boot true on all three of his point-after-attempts, was even eager for a chance to tie the score late in the game, "I'd lie if I said I wasn't hoping but I'd rather have a touchdown any day than have to do that," said the 2004 Mr. Football kicker for the state of Tennessee.

Hahnfeldt grew up rooting for Vanderbilt and pointed out that his experience working with his fellow Vanderbilt kickers during summer workouts helped him get acclimated to the team and avoid any undue pressure. He said his teammates welcomed him and worked hard to make him feel part of the team.

After the game Bryant described the scene in the locker room as a happy one. "It was amazing, everybody was going nuts. We're going to build on this one.: It's was a scene that the young freshman hopes to make possible many more times during the 2005 season.


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