A ninth-place finish at the Old Waverly Bulldog Invitational in West Point, Miss., left the women’s golf team unsatisfied.
Head Coach Velvet Milkman said the team knew it could have done better.
“I was disappointed in where we finished because I know we’re a better team than that,” she said. “But I feel like we were about five holes away from having a decent tournament.”
Milkman said the team finished poorly on the second day and that cost them the tournament.
Host team Mississippi State won the tournament with a score of 844, with East Carolina taking second with an 865.
Milkman said she was glad her players had the chance to compete against a school like Mississippi State.
“They’re very talented, and it’s good to see that kind of competition,” she said. “Obviously playing on your home course gives you an advantage, but they did fantastic.”
Milkman said the competition was more experienced, so they hit the critical shots more than the Racers did.
Milkman said she believes her young team will continue to improve as they face tough competition this season.
“I saw a lot of improvement in their mental toughness,” Milkman said. “They didn’t have that when they finished on the second day. (Wednesday) when they struggled, and they all struggle at times, they were able to fight through that, and that’s a huge step forward, which is encouraging.”
With three freshmen in her starting lineup, Milkman said knows consistency will be difficult at times, but sees potential in her young players.
Freshmen Jackie Van Meter, Minta Yin and Sydney Trimble finished second through fourth for the Racers.
Senior Delaney Howson led the team individually. Howson took 20th place out of the 60 individual competitors.
Looking ahead to their tournament at Austin Peay on Oct. 14-15, Milkman already has practice plans for her players.
“It’s a very difficult course, with very big greens and a lot of speed,” Milkman said. “So we’re going to work on our approach for some of the greens. It has to be below the hole, and our chipping needs to get better.”
Although ninth place out of eleven teams is not the finish she had hoped for, Milkman left her team with words of encouragement.
“I told them, all athletes get knocked down, champions get up and fight,” Milkman said. “That’s what they did today.”
The team has more than a week to prepare for its next tournament, which will be held at Austin Peay Oct. 14-15.
Story by Mallory Tucker, Staff Writer