Sept. 9, 2009
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The University of Iowa women’s golf team will face its competition with good experience, plus freshmen who are expected to contribute immediately in 2009. The Hawkeyes field a team that consists of one senior, three juniors, one sophomore and two freshmen. Fresh off a fifth place Big Ten Championship finish, Head Coach Kelly Crawford and her squad have high expectations this fall.
“Losing our top two scorers hurts a bit, but with our improved returners and the addition of our freshmen I feel we will be a better team than last year right from the start,” said Crawford. “The energy on the team is the best it’s ever been and I know we are going to have a lot of fun and a great season!”
The Hawkeyes lost last year’s leading scorers, Tyrette Metzendorf and Becky Quinby, but are ready to fill the void. They return senior Alison Cavanaugh, juniors Laura Cilek, Brianna Coopman and Lauren Forbes and sophomore Chelsea Harris.
“We have only had one practice thus far so it is difficult to tell who has made vast improvements,” said Crawford. “However, with that said, we had our best ‘first practice’ since I have been here. The scores were low and I saw good things from Laura, Ali and Lauren. My expectation is that they all worked hard over the summer, continued to improve, and came in ready to play.”
Freshmen Kristi Cardwell from Kokomo, IN and Gigi DiGrazia, a native of Addison, IL, also join the squad. Cardwell was the first golfer in Kokomo school history to go to state all four years of her high school career. She holds nine of the 10 individual records for the KHS golf team. DiGrazia is the reigning Class A girl’s golf state champion in Illinois and she has competed in the Junior World, NIKE Golf Junior Championship, the Plantations Tournament of Champions, AJGA Rolex Girls Junior and AJGA McDonalds Invitational.
“I see both Gigi and Kristi having an immediate impact on the team this year,” Crawford said. “They are both very competitive and great players. I would love to see the two of them duke it out for that number one spot, although some of the returners might have something to say about that.”
Another new face on the squad is assistant coach John Owens. Owens has four years of coaching experience on the Division III and Division II levels at Midland Lutheran College and Troy University. He was named the NAIA Region III Coach of the Year in 2006 and 2007 and the Great Plains Athletic Conference Coach-of-the-Year in 2007. Owens was four-year letterwinner (2001-05) at Midland Lutheran College.
“Coach Owens has a great attitude and a lot of knowledge,” Crawford said. “He has some great ideas and I welcome his input. He is ambitious and competitive and will be a great asset to the team. He and I get along really well and we laugh a lot every day. I know we will work well together.”
With some new players in place and a team ready to get on the green, the 2009 schedule is challenging. The Hawkeyes open their fall season September 12-13 in East Lansing, MI, where they compete in the Mary Fossum Invitational. After traveling to Madison, WI, to participate in the Lady Northern Invite on September 27-28, and to Columbia, MO to compete in the Johnnie Imes Invitational on October 5-6 the Hawkeyes return home to host the 36th annual Hawkeye Intercollegiate on October 17-18. Iowa will close its fall slate by traveling Austin, TX to participate in the 2009 Challenge at Onion Creek November 2-3.
“Of course we want to win our home event in October and to finish better at Big Tens, those are the goals the team has set,” Crawford said. “We will set goals for each tournament and prepare accordingly. We can’t control what any other team does; we can only control our games. If we focus on individual potentials and stick to our game plan, the results will come.”