Aug. 11, 2005
For the second consecutive season, the Iowa Hawkeyes will face its competition with a young, but talented, group of student-athletes. The Hawkeyes field a team that consists of three juniors, four sophomores and two freshmen. This season marks the second time in four years that Iowa will not have a senior on its squad.
Fourth-year Head Coach Bobbe Carney is ecstatic about the 2005-06 season after a prosperous spring that saw the Hawkeyes record three top-five finishes and etch their names in the Hawkeye record books in two statistical categories. Furthermore, Iowa returns three of its top four golfers from last season.
In addition to returning its top golfers, the Hawkeyes have added an assistant coach — Chad Mejia. Carney believes Mejia will be a nice compliment to the team.
“His temperament is going to be excellent as an assistant coach,” said Carney. “He’s going to add another perspective and give us double the opportunity to work with the kids — instead of just me trying to be everywhere and deal with everyone. It certainly enhances the opportunity for the individuals who stay at home when we’re traveling to improve themselves because Chad will be there to work with them.”
Iowa returnees include juniors Jenna Cox, Karla Murra and Amy Riepma; and sophomores Brittany Lambert, Jill Marcum, Melanie Boyles and Maggie Gelber. Anchoring the Hawkeye line-up and providing leadership to this year’s squad will be Murra and Riepma.
“Karla and Amy have the most experience of anyone on the team in terms of collegiate competition,” Carney said. “They are best friends and roommates. They plan things together and they’ll lead this team together. They are two very different individuals and yet together they’re a very good duo. I think it’s going to be really fun to see how they take the younger players and show them the way.”
Murra, who is the team captain, ranked fourth on the team in overall scoring average (80.7) last year, including posting a 79.7 spring average in 15 rounds. The native of Sioux Falls, SD, posted three top-20 finishes, including tying for 16th place at the Big Ten Championships and Hawkeye Intercollegiate. She was also honored as the team’s Most Improved Team Member.
Riepma registered three top-ten finishes in 2004-05, including a career-best fourth-place finish at the East/West Rio Verde Invitational. The native of Clear Lake, IA, ranked second on the squad in overall scoring average (80.0). In addition, she recorded a career best score for 18, 36 and 54 holes last season. Carney believes she can have another great season, provided she stays healthy. Riepma played through back pains last season.
Cox, Iowa’s third junior, did not compete last season but did make huge improvements. Carney and Cox worked on rebuliding her golf swing last season after transferring from Toledo University.
“Jenna’s probably the hardest worker on the team and has been a good leader,” said Carney.
Marcum returns for her sophomore year after a stellar freshman campaign. Marcum was one of only two Hawkeyes to play all 30 rounds last season and ranked third in overall scoring average (80.2). The native of Clarinda, IA, drained her first career hole-in-one at the Lady Razorback Invitational. Carney says that Marcum has a great mental approach to the game.
“Jill is the `Rock of Gibraltar’ on the team,” said Carney. “She has the perfect temperament for competitive golf because she’s totally unflappable. There seems to be nothing that bothers her. She’s a workman out there and you never have any idea of what she’s shooting by her demeanor.”
Boyles, Gelber and Lambert round out the Hawkeye sophomore class.
Boyles played in four-of-five fall tournaments before running into some physical problems in the spring. The native of Tempe, AZ, posted an 85.0 scoring average. She tied for 25th at the Hawkeye Intercollegiate and posted career best scores for 18, 36 and 54 holes at the Notre Dame Invitational.
Gelber made big strides in her game from the start of the season, which transpired into more playing time in the spring. The native of Winnetka, IL, collected an 83.3 average in six spring tournaments. Her career best 18-hole score of 75 at the Lady Buckeye Invitational, helped boost the Hawkeyes to a third-place finish in one of Iowa’s difficult tournaments of the season.
Lambert also returns for her sophomore campaign. The native of Keokuk, IA, competed in one tournament last season, placing 32nd in the Hawkeye Intercollegiate. According to Carney, the walk-on made big improvements last year and believes the summer competition will help build her confidence.
“Tyrette is going to be an impact player,” said Carney. “She is the top junior player that I’ve recruited in terms of her national rankings. I’d say that her biggest adjustment is going to be going from Bermuda to Bent grass. She’s got a quality golf game and I don’t see any reasons why she won’t make a big contribution this coming year.”
“I think probably the biggest thing for Becky is to help her build her confidence that she can compete at this level. She’ll have to probably get her feet on the ground and when she does that, then I think she’ll really start getting the opportunity to participate. We’ll just have to see where she is in relationship to the other players when she gets here.”
Iowa will challenge itself with a demanding schedule, which opens at home, Sept. 10-11, at Finkbine Golf Course. The Hawkeyes will also play at the Mary Fossum, Lady Northern, Legends of Golf and Lady Razorback invitationals in the fall.
The Hawkeyes return to the East/West Rio Verde and also add the Pinehurst Challenge and Illini Spring Classic to its spring slate. Iowa will conclude its regular season at the Big Ten Championships on the campus of Indiana University.
One of the team’s strengths is its team’s chemistry, which really shined towards the end of last season and makes Carney look forward to 2005-06. She believes she has a team that can qualify for NCAA Regionals.
“The team knows we need to play strong this fall if we want to advance to regionals. The players know they need to be prepared. We had problems with illness and injuries, but hopefully we’ll stay healthy this next year and have an easier time reaching the rankings we want.”