Story by Mallory Tucker, Staff writer
Led by senior captains Sophie Hillier and Abbi Stamper, the women’s golf team finished their five-tournament fall season with one championship title and a slew of finishes between fourth and eighth.
Traveling from Ohio to Alabama with Kentucky and Tennessee in between, the Racers previewed their spring season with just three OVC tournaments, including their own MSU Invitational, which opened fall play in September.
Sophomore Moa Folke and junior Sydney Trimble joined the two seniors for most of team play while sophomore Anna Moore and freshman Jane Watts swapped between participating on the team and as individuals at various tournaments.
“What I like is that all of them have gone low this year, and that’s what makes a good team,” Head Coach Velvet Milkman said during the season. “They all have the confidence that they can shoot par or around par or under par. That makes a big difference as far as confidence.”
Trimble took home second place as the Racers hosted their season opener at Miller Francis E. Memorial Golf Course in Murray with Hillier and Stamper close behind with a tie for fourth. Folke placed second at Jacksonville State’s Chris Banister Classic in Glencoe, Alabama, marking the team’s highest individual leaderboard finishes of the season.
The women’s spring season starts Feb. 22 as they head for warmer weather in Mobile, Alabama at South Alabama’s USA Invitational Tournament. The Racers will play five regular-season tournaments from then until the OVC Championship at the Hampton Cove Golf Club in Owens Cross Roads, Alabama, with another home tournament serving as their only conference-hosted event.
The senior-heavy men’s golf team started their five-tourney fall season with a championship at home, as well, with senior captain Brock Simmons tying for medalist honors before losing with a bogey in a sudden-death playoff.
This finish remained the highest of any Racer for the duration of fall play.
The team placed 11th, third, fifth and ninth, respectively, for the remainder of the season, three tournaments of which were hosted by conference competition. The team’s lineup changed throughout the season, with freshman Gabe Wheeler seeing team play alongside seasoned veterans in three of the five tournaments and competing as an individual in the other two.
The men will tee off for the first time in months Feb. 28 at Loyola’s Snowman Getaway in Goodyear, Arizona. A total of five tournaments are scheduled for the spring season, as well, before they travel to Muscle Shoals, Alabama for the OVC Championship April 25.
Tournaments hosted by UT Martin, Tennessee Tech and Tennessee State will allow the Racers to gauge their conference competition before their final test of the season.
“Going into the spring we know we can play with the teams in the conference, and I think the conference race is still wide open,” said Head Coach Eddie Hunt. “I still feel encouraged about the conference championship.”