The women’s golf team ended their fourth regular season after the Morehead State Invitational where they placed 15 out of 18 primarily Division I teams. Although that may not seem like much, head coach Missey Jones said it is actually a great achievement.
The team was one of two non-Division I teams invited to the tournament, and the team has progressed since the program started in 2010.
“That’s phenomenal,” Jones said. “I’m just thrilled with our scoring, our team total, and that we didn’t come in last in a D1 tournament. If we played a lot of other D2 schools in this country we’d be winning tournaments or placing first or third with those scores we just had.”
The team shot 324 in their first round of the tournament then dropped down to 318 and 313 on days two and three. With their score of 313 in the last day, the Spartans’ dropped 12 stokes and beat six teams.
Jones said that last season the team average was around 324 for a round, so the first day was a bit of a disappointment. The women shot a low of 308 for the season, which shows overall improvement.
Grace Marie Schian, sophomore captain and criminology major, thinks the number one weakness for the team during the tournament were the undulated greens. She said that it affected their putting because it wasn’t something they were used to.
“The tournament was definitely a huge building block,” Schian said. “Maybe not everyone shot their complete best but it shows that we can definitely compete with these people and they’re Division I.”
Jones is proud of her team’s performance at the Morehead State Invitational because the women broke personal, team and school records.
Schian shot in the 70s all three days of the tournament. She thinks that there is still room for improvement but since she never consistently shot in the 70s last season she is happy with the progress.
Both Jones and Schian were happy to have beat Embry-Riddle, the other non-DI team invited to the tournament, who placed last. Embry-Riddle will be joining the Spartans next season in the Sunshine State Conference as a Division II team.
The Sunshine State Conference (SSC) Championship is the next event the Spartans are looking forward to. After breaking records at the last tournament, coaches and players are expecting to do the same at the SSC Conference Tournament.
“My goal this year in conference is to shoot a day at 300,” Jones said. “Our low is 308 and my goal is to break that.”
Seven of the nine teams in SSC for women’s golf Division II are ranked in the top 25 for the whole country. Jones said that some of those teams are shooting as low as 285, which is professional level.
“I would love to say I want to make seventh place and not eight, and people think ‘Wow you only want seventh?’, but they don’t know what we’re up against,” Jones said.
Jones will be taking her top five players to the SSCs this season. The top five include Schian, junior Fatin Amin, sophomore Alyssa Morahan, and freshmen Jess Wild and Hanna Grevelius. These players will all be continuing on to next season along with the other five.
The Spartans have not made it past the SSCs yet, but Schian believes that the team can lower their scores enough to make it to NCAA Super Regionals next season, especially since they won’t be losing any players.
“I just have to keep them up and keep positive about how far we’ve come and how far they’ve come as individuals and not be looking at what everybody else is doing right now,” Jones said.
Ann Marie Distasi can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org