Athlete of the Week Archive

Feb. 29, 2008

LARAMIE, Wyo. -



Laura Mengelkamp


What are your goals, both individually and team-wise, this spring?
"I'm just trying to finish strong in my last semester. Hopefully keeping my (stroke) average where it's at or lowering it some. As a team I'm hoping for a couple top-three finishes at tournaments. Kind of go out with a bang!"

In your bag, what is your favorite club to hit?
"I'd have to say probably my four-iron hybrid. I used to hit my four-iron, but now that I have a hybrid I like that a lot."

What type of golfer are you?
"I'm the kind of player that might come with a different game every day. I try and make do with whatever I have that morning. If that means I'm playing a fade, then I'm playing a fade. If that means I'm playing a draw, then I play a draw. Basically, I just try the best I can to not make bogeys or higher. However I do that, I do. I just grind it out every day."

What's with all of the animal head-covers in your bag?
"They are kind of an accumulation from over the years. As a junior golfer I didn't like the plain, boring head-covers that advertise for companies for free. So since I like animals a lot, the first one I got was a Tigger head-cover and I had that through my sophomore year until it ripped pretty bad. There have been a lot of gifts from different people, so after that I started substituting some of them in and out. When I'm on the course and hit a bad shot they kind of cheer me up, I say to myself, 'Well, do better next time Kermit,' or whatever that head-cover is. It's just kind of something that keeps me smiling on the course and is something different than everyone else."

Have you ever been hit by a ball while playing golf?
"Yes! The worst was when I was about 14 years old and I was playing with my brother and one of his friends. We were playing a course in Pennsylvania where the fairways are close together and a bigger guy sliced a shot, hits the inside of my leg, pops a blood vessel and I was on the ground. My brother keeps playing, some lady in a cart takes me to the clubhouse where the guy who hit me was so embarrassed that he bought me a coke from the snack bar."

If you could play one round of golf with anyone, who would it be?
"Well, if we're talking family it would be my dad for sure. If we're talking a famous person, I would say the President, a Supreme Court Justice or something like that."

What are you going to do with a college degree in political science and environmental/natural resources?
"I'd like to work for a Wyoming politician doing natural resource legislation."

What is your favorite place to hang out in Laramie?
"It's got to be something with food. I really like O'Dwyer's. We go there a lot."

Are you a late-night person or an early-morning person?
"I'm a late-night person. I don't do mornings very well, but I've had to adjust because of golf. I just make do with less sleep. If you are a student-athlete you can forget sleep!"

What is your favorite sports memory at UW?
"I loved being there when the girls won the WNIT. It kind of put Wyoming on the radar, and that helps with every sport. It was a really cool experience to be there and to see all of the fans and all of the gold. The noise was awesome! It made me proud to be part of the athletic program here."

What is your favorite place to eat on the road?
"This is hard. I always go to Panda at the airport. That's a staple and a favorite. But if I have to pick one it would probably be PF Chang's. If I had to pick one for Coach Stender it would be an Italian place, maybe Carrabba's. Or let's just say In-n-Out Burger!"

Tell us why you are so excited to play in a tournament in Hawaii this spring.
"Just a little bit, ha! I've been lobbying to go to Hawaii since my freshman year, so I'm very excited that it's finally here. Just the different style of course, the ocean and the high-level of competition will be great. Probably half of the field will be in the top-25, so that will be exciting. As an aside from the golf, I really want to go see Pearl Harbor. Who doesn't want to see that?"

You've lived in a lot of different places and traveled to a lot of different places, so how does Laramie compare when people ask you what it's like here?
"It's a smaller town than what I grew up in, but I love it here because even though it's small, it's a great college town atmosphere. Everyone rallies behind the school and I love outdoors stuff. I'm not just a golfer. That's just one thing I like to do. I have taken summer school here, and to be able to camp in the mountains at night and then go to class the next morning is great. That is something you can do here. You can go see a moose one day if you want to, or you can go snowboarding, or you can go fishing. So it's just a very versatile lifestyle here."

Other than school and golf, what else are you involved with?
"College Republicans and a lot of political events. I'm helping with two campaigns right now, so that is taking up a lot of my extra time. Besides the fun stuff I just mentioned. I try to squeeze in some snowboarding and some fishing when my dad visits."

How do you feel about all of the attention being given right now at a high political level to the problems in pro sports?
"It is one of my pet-peeve issues because I know that it is important to the country to keep sports in line and they are role models, but it seems like they are spending more time and giving more priority to that when there are more pressing issues. Like health care, education, the war, and other things that in my opinion need to be more at the front than steroid use."