The UC Santa Cruz NCAA women’s golf team concluded its season last Tuesday at the American Southwest Conference Championship tournament in Corinth, Texas after scoring 683 and placing fourth out of eight teams. Senior Portia Kennedy scored a low 76 in the first round and was awarded second team all-conference. This finish concludes a rough season for the Slugs.
“I personally wish I did better. I was expecting to do better, and it was kind of sad that my last tournament didn’t turn out the way I wanted [it] to,” senior Angie McElroy said. “But I’m proud of my team as a whole.”
The team traveled to Texas for the second straight week. After the four-hour flight, they had to go straight into the tournament after missing practice due to rain.
Despite comparatively disappointing scores, head coach Paulette Pera emphasized the talent the women bring to the team.
“Of all the years I’ve been at UCSC, this is the best team I have ever had. The scores we’re shooting now and events we’ve played in this year aren’t really reflective of the talent that’s on the golf team,” said Pera.
The team only plays three tournaments in the fall and three in the spring — the NCAA minimum — to save money and reduce travel time.
“If we played in more tournaments, even my seniors now would have more experience under their belts and not be so nervous when the event came,” Pera said.
The team is trying to stay positive through the uncertainties with NCAA funding — an opinion poll this spring will determine the future of sports funding — as well as losing four talented seniors.
“Recruiting is really tough. I’ve had to be honest from the start, even from a few years ago, that we might not have athletics, and it’s turning away a lot of hopeful and really good students,” Pera said.
Pera said next season will be a building year and future success relies on recruiting new talent and giving the remaining players more training and experience.
Thinking back on the season, senior Ravipa Losakul remembers many late nights doing homework while away at tournaments. “You don’t really remember your score, you don’t really remember your round, but you remember the times around that, and I think that’s the most valuable thing.”