Feb. 29, 2008
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
The Wyoming Cowgirl golfers will begin the spring portion of their 2007-08 schedule this upcoming weekend at the NAU/Red Rocks Invitational in Sedona, Ariz. The tournament takes place Saturday and Sunday, March 1-2.
The event, hosted by Northern Arizona University, will be held at Oakcreek Country Club in Sedona, which measures 6,089 yards, par 72.
There is some optimism as Wyoming starts off the spring, since the UW women began this past fall with two tournaments unlike any others in school history.
First, the Cowgirls broke the UW record for low team round, at the Ram Fall Classic with a score of 300 (+12). At that same event UW also set the school record for 54-hole total, to the tune of 924 (+60).
Then, for the second straight event the Cowgirls rewrote the school record book and posted a new all-time mark for low team round with their second round total of 294 (+6) at the MDA Invitational.
Wyoming's 906-stroke (+42) total at the MDA Invite also established a new all-time school record total for 54-holes.
Again, it was the second time in as many events that the Cowgirls broke that record.
Add to that start the way that Wyoming finished last season, nearly catching the field at the Mountain West Conference Championship, and there is reason to be excited about this Cowgirl squad heading into the spring season of 2008.
Six letterwinners and one redshirt return from last season, while two freshmen have stepped right into the mix, giving the Wyoming Cowgirls their deepest, most talented squad in recent years.
Third year head coach Josey Stender will have her work cut out for her to simply pick a five-player travel squad this spring.
"It could be any five on our roster traveling at any time this spring," said Stender. "That is how competitive it is within our team right now. We just keep getting deeper and stronger every year.
"Every single person on this team has contributed to us improving and to the successes we've had, no matter if they've played in every tournament."
"The ladies are in good shape and certainly closing the gap on the rest of the MWC," adds Wyoming Director of Golf Joe Jensen. "Although it is a young team, they are on course towards the goal of becoming a nationally recognized program. The Cowgirls' play this fall has given them a good foundation to make a nice run this spring."
Stender had her team play five tournaments during the fall of 2007 and in the process placed second at one event (MDA Invite) and third at another (Bronco Fall Invite), in addition to the afore-mentioned school records.
"We tried to play a balanced schedule during the fall with a mix of very strong fields and fairly even competition," notes Stender. "The results were great for our confidence, since we beat teams consistently that we had not in the past."
UW had three players with stroke averages under 80 during the fall, most notably senior Laura Mengelkamp.
As she has her entire four-year career, Mengelkamp consistently led Wyoming by placing near the top of the field, averaging 76.71 strokes which ranks eighth in the MWC. Out of five events she placed fourth once and 11th twice, adding to her now-gaudy career numbers. She is the UW school record holder for low single round and low 54-hole total, the leader on the UW team that set all-time school marks this past fall, has won a college event and owns three of the four lowest season stroke averages in UW history. Laura now has ten top-five finishes in her collegiate career, 12 in the top-ten and 25 in the top-25 of a major field.
Sophomores Sarah Fogerty (77.93) and Jonelle Martinez (79.93) are the other two players with stroke averages under 80 and both have improved in their second seasons at Wyoming. Fogerty had two seventh place finishes during the fall, while Martinez' highest placing was sixth.
The Cowgirls' two freshmen, Molly Black and Jenna Zamprelli, got right into the swing of things during the fall and traveled to all five events. They had up and down results, but each gave the Wyoming team some valuable rounds and showed their high talent level.
Chomping at the bit to get back on the course this spring are three UW upper-classmen who all have worked extremely hard, have significant playing experience and will battle for spots on the travel roster. Seniors Kaelee Aegerter and Lindsay Bauknecht want to end their Wyoming careers on a good note by playing their best golf, while junior Mikala Henzlik hopes to regain her success from past years.
Redshirt freshman Johnna Jeffries has yet to play a round for the Cowgirls and adds a bit of an unknown element to the team. Stender is eager to see what Jeffries can do on the course and thinks that she can make this squad even deeper than it already is.
After playing five events last fall, Wyoming's spring schedule consists of six tournaments and one dual. The highlight of the spring will be a trip to Hawaii to play the Thompson Invitational. The Cowgirls will host an event in Arizona during the spring of 2008 for the second consecutive year. UW will be the home team for the Wyoming Cowgirl Classic, scheduled for April 7-8 in Chandler, Ariz., at Ocotillo Golf Resort.
"Our spring schedule has a little more variety, but plenty of great competition," stated Stender. "We have higher expectations for this spring than we did for the fall, along with a higher confidence level.
"The Cowgirl Classic has doubled in size and the strength of the field has improved. The team is proud that we host a quality event on a beautiful course and they want badly to play well there."
All sights will be set on the season-ending MWC Championship, which will be held April 17-19, in Albuquerque, N.M. To make an upward move within the conference standings the Cowgirls will need to continue their improved play, as there is no drop-off in the league's national prowess this season. Four of seven league teams head into the spring of 2008 ranked in the top-50 nationally according to Golfstat and Golfweek. The favorites to win the MWC team title will be New Mexico and TCU, both of which are in the top-30.