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Women’s Golf Gets into the Swing of Things

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Women’s Golf Gets into the Swing of Things

Credit: UWL Athletics

Credit: UWL Athletics

Credit: UWL Athletics

Credit: UWL Athletics

Melissa Petroff, Sports Reporter

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This fall, the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse women’s golf team kicked off their first season since 1983. With UWL’s original women’s golf team being founded in the 1970’s, it’s safe to say the players and coach are excited to represent UWL again on the links.

The team started up the season at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh Invitational which took place on Saturday, Sep. 1 through Sunday, Sep. 2 at the Oshkosh Country Club. They took 5th out of the 10 teams at the invitational. Senior Hannah Ottevaere led the Eagles with a 16th place finish (UWL Athletics).

Ottevaere, an art major with an emphasis in graphic design, explained how excited she was to join the newest sport program at UWL, “I’m honored to be a part of the first group of girls to play. When I first came to college, playing golf at this level is something I had always wanted to do”.

Being the first women’s team to compete in 35 years, Ottevaere says it adds to the excitement. Ottevaere is also in the Tri Sigma sorority on campus, which, she said, gives her another great group of girls to connect with. She noted what a pleasant surprise it was how much interest there was when UWL sent out information about golf tryouts last spring; even from incoming freshman and transfer students. This process is different than most sports when an entirely new team needs to be formed. The roster was made by looking at the prospective players’ high school standings and scores.

Ottevaere stated how a lot of the team’s season has been acclimating to tournament play, especially since she hasn’t golfed competitively since her senior year of high school. Another adjustment that all the players have had to make is that of the student-athlete life. Coach David Taebel commended the girls on their adjustment to this busy lifestyle. “The fact that we have been as competitive as we have is a testament to the fact that all of our players came into the season prepared to play at this level”. Taebel expressed that everyone is working through the challenge of balancing school and golf with patience and flexibility as they all work to achieve their goals.

Taebel has had positive reactions to the season so far, “the season has been going well.  We have finished in the top half of all of our competitions, including a 2nd place finish in the Viterbo Invite”.

Regardless of the first year back for the program, and the last of the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) schools to add women’s golf, the team has been more than ready to compete. “It’s crazy to see how we stack up to other schools,” Ottevaere stated. Taebel phrased that view further, “We are seen as an underdog somewhat, especially early in the season.  However, I do notice that other teams are recognizing that we should not be taken lightly and that we are ready to compete right now.”

Both Ottevaere and Taebel said that the team has been working together very well. Taebel stated, “I am really enjoying the way our team is coming together as a cohesive unit that is there to support each other.  Seeing that continue as the season progresses is something that I look most forward to”.

The Eagles compete next at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater Fall Classic Sep. 22 and 23, which will be played at The Oaks Golf Course in Cottage Grove, Wisconsin. Play starts at 8 a.m.

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Women’s Golf Gets into the Swing of Things