Independent Student Newspaper of UW Oshkosh Campuses

The Advance-Titan

Independent Student Newspaper of UW Oshkosh Campuses

The Advance-Titan

Independent Student Newspaper of UW Oshkosh Campuses

The Advance-Titan

Women’s golf swings into start of season

The UW Oshkosh women’s golf team starts competition on Friday, April 14, at the Kathy Niepagen Spring Fling in Normal, Ill. The Titans last competed in October during their active season in which they recorded a second-place finish in the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championship.

The WIAC participates in two seasons for women’s golf: an inactive season and an active season. The inactive season occurs in the spring, while the active season begins in September.

The active season includes conference matches within the WIAC. In the inactive season, it is mostly non-conference opponents within the tournaments.

Titans head coach Liza Ruetten said the team is very fortunate to have the inactive season during the spring.

“Our preparation for our fall and spring seasons remains the same,” Ruetten said. “In the WIAC conference, fall is our active season and we are thankful for that fact. The weather is much better in the fall for golf than the spring.”

Ruetten also said the two different seasons affect the way the Titans practice. The long winters cause for flexibility within the team’s practices.

“We practice about 8-12 hours per week leading up to our weekend events, regardless of the season,” Ruetten said. “However, we only average about two days or 4-5 hours outside during the spring.”

UWO sophomore Kayla Priebe looks to make a big impact for the Titans this season after she earned Player of the Year honors last October to lead a league-high four UW Oshkosh selections to the 2016-17 All-WIAC Women’s Golf Team.

Priebe became the second consecutive Titan and third player in program history to win conference Player of the Year. UWO’s McKenzie Paul won the league’s top individual award last season, and Jennifer Young earned the award in both 2003-04 and 2006-07.

The only league player to average less than 80 strokes per round this season was Priebe, who also earned All-WIAC first team status last year. Priebe averaged 78.5 strokes over 18 holes that led the WIAC by close to two strokes.

Priebe said the team gained success throughout last fall’s season and noted a tournament in the previous year that motivated them.

“I think part of this [success] had to do with coming off of a trip to D-III Nationals in Houston last May,” Priebe said. “We saw our hard work pay off there, so we were willing to continue our hard work in the fall.”

Priebe also said replacing top talent was a big factor in the Titans’ success last fall. The Titans brought in three freshmen in Hannah Braun, Hanna Rebholz, and Dianna Scheibe, who achieved eight top-20 finishes this past fall.

“We also brought in three freshmen in the fall who were able to fill out a very strong top five players for us after losing two of our top five the previous spring,” Priebe said. “Our team works together well, and we are always able to pick each other up when one person has a bad day.”

Ruetten said she is always looking for the same thing out of her team when they prepare for an opponent.

“We are continually focusing on improving our consistency,” Ruetten said. “Improving our driving accuracy, greens reached in regulation and short game saves are the focus of most of our practice sessions.”

With the Titans fielding a relatively young team, including having Laura Stair as the only senior on the squad, Ruetten said she’ll look to her senior for leadership as well as many others to lead a very hopeful group.

“Laura Stair, our lone senior, has played a leadership role for the past two years,” Ruetten said. “She has organized team dinners prior to weekend travel and has also served on [Student-Athlete Advisory Committees] for the past two years.”

Stair, who recorded five top-20 finishes last year and finished fifth in the WIAC Championship, said the team is extremely close, which has helped their success throughout her four years.

“Some of the things that allow us as a team to be successful is how much support we have,” Stair said. “All of us are like family and want to help each other in any way we can. Being the only senior, fall season was kind of bittersweet; it was my last conference season as well as conference tournament.”

Ruetten also said she expects leadership out of competitors other than just Stair.

“Micayla Richards and Kayla Priebe also show leadership qualities both on and off the course,” Ruetten said. “I expect both Micayla and Kayla to continue to strengthen their presence for our incoming freshman in the fall of 2017.”

The UWO women compete in the Spring Fling on April 14 and are looking forward to non-conference play. Ruetten said the non-conference matches are very important for seeding in the National Tournament.

“Our main goal for our spring season is to make a strong showing in our mostly non-conference out-of-state events,” Ruetten said. “We always strive to maintain our GolfStat ranking. GolfStat rankings seed you for the national tournament should your team qualify.”

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