By Nathanael Hawthorne
The Youngstown State University women’s golf team medaled in seven of 12 matches and invitationals on its way to the Horizon League playoffs last season.
The team now looks to ride that momentum and make it back to the championship.
So far this year, the Penguins have won the Roseann Schwartz Invitational and placed second in the Bucknell Invitational, giving them two medals.
“I couldn’t be more pleased with our performance,” Penguins coach Nate Miklos said. “The important thing is to continue to build on that heading into the rest of the season.”
The members have a strong attitude moving forward as well. Miklos said he believes the team’s experience is a big factor in its overall attitude.
The team’s members are relatively young with 7 out of 10 being freshmen or sophomores.
Last year, more than half of the members were freshmen, but the age difference hasn’t hurt team chemistry.
According to sophomore team member Victoria Grans, the addition of new members has helped the competitive nature of the team.
“We got three good, new players on the team,” Grans said. “We are a more competitive team this year than last year, so every one of us feels that we need to play even better.”
In addition to the competition the incoming freshmen bring, they also bring out a sense of leadership for junior team members Kara Raines and Tori Utrup.
“We have a couple of strong freshmen players, and Tori and I will practice [with them] and lead them to a great season,” Raines said.
As a whole, the team’s expectation for the season is to make it back to the conference championship.
In its first invitational at Mill Creek Golf Course, the team won by 36 strokes. In that invitational, YSU had five team members finish in the top 10. They had each of the top four spots with two of them tying for first. Grans and sophomore Puthita Khuanrudee shared first place honors.
In the team’s second invitational, it missed first place by four strokes. As a team, members shot a three-round total of 898. Khuanrudee led the way, while YSU had three players crack the top 10.
“We’re off to a great start,” Miklos said. “I think we’ve got a really talented team, and I think as long as we keep doing the things that we need to throughout the year, it’s going to be a very good year.”
While not wanting to pressure themselves too much, the Penguins are excited to possibly raise the bar this season.
“I have high hopes for the season this year,” Grans said. “It’s important to not put too much pressure on ourselves, so we’re taking it one tournament at a time.”
Looking forward, the Penguins have two matches coming up: the Silver Lake Shootout, hosted by the University of Akron, and the Dayton Fall Invitational, hosted by the University of Dayton.