2004-05 Cowgirl Golf Outlook

Feb. 17, 2005

LARAMIE, Wyo. -

Youth will continue to be the face of the Cowgirl golf program in 2005, with six of the seven roster spots belonging to underclassmen. Returning two sophomores as the stroke average leaders from last season, and led in the fall of 2004 by freshmen in all but one tournament, the future of Wyoming women's golf looks to be in good hands.

The freshmen duo of Laura Mengelkamp and Lindsay Bauknecht enter the spring portion of this season ranked number one and two in stroke average, respectively, on the Cowgirl squad.

Mengelkamp completed her initial collegiate fall season averaging 76.87 strokes per round, first on the University of Wyoming squad and good enough for 14th in the Mountain West Conference. She led the Cowgirls in all but one of seven fall events, and finished strong by placing second of 64 golfers at the TPC Virginia Beach Intercollegiate.

"Laura had an outstanding fall," said UW head coach Jill Rettinger. "She was the low freshman in the conference and is on the verge of being an NCAA Regional Tournament participant. She will need to put together some strong showings this spring. Laura is very capable of achieving her goal, which is a first place tournament finish."

Bauknecht was also a pleasant freshman surprise for Wyoming, finishing the fall with a stroke average of 80 and placing no lower than second or third among her teammates in each event.

"Lindsay has surpassed my expectations so far," said Rettinger. "She has a good stroke average, despite that she is a freshman who did not know what to expect from college golf. Her scores were pretty solid all fall and I know she will continue to improve this spring."

The lone upperclassman on the Cowgirl roster, senior Shala Hanson, has shown glimpses this fall of the low scores she can contribute to this team. Hanson had Wyoming's low tally at the SDSU Lady Aztec Invitational and will be looked to for leadership this spring.

"Shala knew that she needed to play well this year if she wanted to travel and she has done just that," said Rettinger. "She has mentored the younger kids, taken on a leadership role and improved her game at the same time. She is working hard, is confident, capable and she'll end her senior season with no regrets, saying she gave everything she had."

Sophomores Michelle Camaione and Kayla Morrison, Wyoming's two lowest stroke averages last year, will look to return to the success of their freshman years this spring.

Camaione played in all seven events for UW this fall and posted a round of 77 at the Denver Pioneer Intercollegiate.

"Michelle had a disappointing fall after leading the team last year, but I'd be surprised if she did not have a huge turnaround this spring," quotes Rettinger. "She only played golf over break and wants to get back to the number one spot. She will work hard for that this spring."

Morrison is coming off of leg surgery this past summer and has yet to regain her form from last season. She played in two events during the fall and had a low round of 77 at the Colorado/Heather Farr Memorial.

"Kayla has revamped her swing and worked to get back confidence in her game," adds Rettinger. "Since she didn't play much this fall, she is very motivated to play this spring. Based on the type of player she is, I know she'll get there."

Rounding out Wyoming's roster are sophomore Whitney Hernandez and freshman Kaelee Aegerter. Hernandez played in six events this fall and shot a round of 74 at the Denver Pioneer Intercollegiate, the second lowest round by a Cowgirl so far this season. Aegerter participated in three events and had a low round of 81.

"Whitney has made a huge improvement from last year and is very capable of shooting a low number," said Rettinger. "She is very competitive and has set very high expectations and standards for herself.

"Kaelee is begining to understand the jump from high school to college golf. She has been working hard, giving 100 percent and will be successful here."

The Cowgirls ended the fall of '04 with their highest team finish of the year, third out of 13 teams at the TPC Virginia Beach Intercollegiate. With a youthful roster, each capable of low scores, the Cowgirls hope to use their fall season momentum, along with a good mix of spring tournament competition, to prove competitive within the Mountain West Conference.

"We are a young, solid and deep team," observes Rettinger. "This group of ladies has the ability to be extremely successful. They just need to realize that they can compete in this conference and that they are not small fish in a big pond. Each tournament will make this team better and our youth will benefit us in the near future."

Six of eight Mountain West Conference schools sponsor women's golf teams. Brigham Young, Colorado State, UNLV, New Mexico, San Diego State and Wyoming are the six MWC schools that will compete for the conference championship. The UNLV Rebels will be looking to defend their 2004 MWC Women's Golf Championship. The New Mexico Lobos had won the previous four MWC team titles.