Senior Leadership

March 26, 2007

By Jennifer Bissell

They’re friends. They’re teammates. They’re roommates. And they’re leaders of the women’s golf team.

With no seniors on the team last year, Karla Murra and Amy Riepma took on the leadership role. Murra and Riepma are looking to enjoy their final competitions as Hawkeyes as well as enjoy their final months as students.

“The girls on the team are my best friends,” said Murra. “Amy and I have been roommates for the past three years. I can’t imagine not knowing her. I can’t imagine not having her around.”

“It’s getting down to the end, and I’m trying to cherish practice and everything. I’m going to miss competing quite a bit, but I’ll definitely miss having the friendships,” said Riepma.

In high school in Sioux Falls, S.D., Murra was the 2003 South Dakota State AA Champion. She was also the Greater Dakota Conference Scholar Athlete and the 2002 SDGA Junior Player of the Year.

Since becoming a Hawkeye, Murra has continued to improve her game. As a team captain last year, she tied for 19th at the Big Ten Championships, where her score of 306 ranks sixth in Iowa history for 72-hole performances. Last fall she led the Hawkeyes in two of five tournaments. Going into spring, she was second on the team in scoring average, with a 77.

Getting the opportunity to be a leader on the team two straight years is something Murra has enjoyed.

“Being leader is a great opportunity,” she said. “You are given a chance to learn so much. A lot of the girls are team leaders in their own way. We really mesh well together. It’s a good opportunity to grow and learn.”

For Riepma, a Clear Lake native, the decision to become a Hawkeye was an easy one.

“I’ve always grown up in Iowa. I’ve always been a Hawkeye. It wasn’t a huge decision. I really liked the team, and I liked the goals the Hawkeyes had when I got here.”

Riepma has also improved her game. In addition to being named the most improved player after her freshman year in 2003-2004, she has also tied the school 18-hole record with a 69 at the 2005 East/West Rio Verde Invitational. Last year she carded a 303 at the 2006 Big Ten Championships, which ranks fourth on Iowa’s top performances for 72 holes.

Like Murra, Riepma has embraced a team leade.

“Karla and I are really responsible and like leading the team and setting goals. It will help us both later in life and give us more confidence down the road,” Riepma said.

This season, Murra and Riepma have also helped make the transition easier for new Head Coach Kelly Crawford.

“It’s a different type of practice and rules. We’re leading examples and being positive. Meshing her ideas and team ideas together is the biggest challenge,” said Riepma.

“We weren’t expecting Coach [Bobbe Carney] to retire, but we realized we have to deal with it. We welcomed Coach Crawford in, and she’s been a big help,” said Murra.

With just a few months left in their collegiate careers, as athletes and students, Murra and Riepma are savoring every moment. After graduation, Riepma hopes to become a golf pro and teach others to “find the love of the game.” Murra plans to return home and find work at a non-profit organization.

Until it’s time to leave, both will continue to do what they have loved doing during their four-year careers–going to other athletic events and supporting other athletes.

“I love diehard Hawkeye fans and going to athletic events,” said Riepma. “You always hear about seniors getting excited to graduate, but the closer it gets, the more fearful they get. I’ve just really enjoyed my experience here.”

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