By Katelyn Masserelli
The women’s golf veterans, which make up the overwhelming majority of the team, have continued to show their dedication and commitment to their team by sticking with the sport each year. However, one newcomer has joined the women’s team this season to show that tenure isn’t everything. Freshman golfer Sydney Stengel is the only new Spartan on the women’s team, but that doesn’t mean her know-how isn’t up to par.
“I started playing golf when I was 10 years old,” Stengel said . “My dad used to take me out with him when he would go play so it just clicked and I became addicted.”
Making the transition as the only freshman golfer has not been as hard for her as one would expect. Many returning golfers and charismatic coach Missy Jones, who has been with the women’s golf team since their inception in 2010, have made her feel like a valuable asset on the team.
“Missy Jones is a great coach and has been very motivating and supportive towards me,” Stengel said. “All of my teammates are very nice girls and welcomed me with open arms onto the team. They were just nice and talked to me or asked me to go to practices with them.”
Previously Stengel went to All-States and was a recipient for the coaches award in high school, making it apparent that Stengel possesses the necessary skill set to hold her own on a team of only veterans. She also brings something to the course that doesn’t require expertise or experience: personality.
“She gets along really well with everyone on the team because she has an extroverted type of personality,” Junior golfer Gabrielle Miller said. “She always makes being at practice and out on the course a good time.”
Returning players such as senior golfer Gracemarie Schian believe Stengel is already making a name for herself. In just a few short weeks, she notched her place as one of the top five golfers on the team with the lowest overall score, qualifying her to compete in further tournaments this season. Only the top five golfers are permitted to play in tournaments, and must maintain their ranking to continue to compete.
“Freshmen at most universities never get to play their first year but Sydney qualified to go to the second tournament of the year,” Schian said. “It will be her first collegiate golf tournament so it will be interesting to see how she handles herself.”
Stengel’s tournament appearance is one her teammates believe will be a great way to test her skills. Stengel is excited about the great competition that awaits her at the collegiate level.
“Every player means business and wants to go out there and play great golf,” Stengel said. “I look forward to getting out there with some of the best golfers and making my mark to show them who Sydney Stengel is.”
This year three golfers are graduating and two are graduating early and moving on to play collegiate golf in graduate school. Many of the veteran golfers are leaving, but they believe Stengel will be able to get the new recruitments coming in next year up to speed with the experience she gains from her teammates.
“She could bring in experience for next year because I know my coach is bringing in some top recruits,” Schian said . “Our program is growing so much and it’s great to see it improving every year.”
For the future, Stengel hopes to make a name for herself and improve her scores as she transitions into a veteran herself.
“I want to give it my all every season to see just how good of a player I can become,” Stengel said.