In just its third season, Texas Wesleyan’s women’s golf team is off to the best start in program history.
The Lady Rams cracked the preseason National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Top 25 poll with a No.15 ranking and have only gotten better from there.
On March 31 the team won its first tournament, Southern Arkansas University’s Mulerider Spring Classic, shooting a final round of 318 to win by 67 strokes, according to ramsports.net. The tournament also featured two NCAA Division II schools, Southern Arkansas and Harding University. As of April 11, the team was ranked No. 9 in the NAIA.
Head coach Kevin Millikan said has been really pleased with the players and how hard they have worked all season.
“It’s all about the kids,” Millikan said. “They work really hard, they’re dedicated to the sport, and they play and practice really hard.”
Millikan said that he had a hand in getting the golf team started here on campus.
“We decided we were going to start the program in late 2011,” Millikan said, “and I put together the whole plan, what we were going to do, and then we played our first event in the fall of 2012.”
One player that has been particularly impressive is freshman Alex Schies. On Feb. 15, Schies and the rest of the Lady Rams finished third at the University of Houston-Victoria’s Claud Jacobs Intercollegiate at Victoria’s country club in a field that included 10 nationally ranked teams.
Schies had an opening round of 68 followed by rounds of 76 and 74 to win the tournament by two strokes with a score of 218.
Schies said that her favorite moment of the season thus far is her win at Victoria.
“My most favorite is when we went to Victoria, where I set a personal record and won the tournament,” Schies said. “I wouldn’t have been able to win though without Alexis Belton there drilling my putting for hours during practice.”
Millikan says that breaking in the top 10 nationally this season was a top moment for him.
The Lady Rams will continue their season April 20-21, at the Sooner Athletic Conference hosted by Oklahoma City University at the Twin Hills Country Club in Oklahoma City.
“Our goal at the beginning of the year was to make our first appearance at nationals and win a tournament,” Schies said. “Now that we made our goal, our next one will be to prove to everyone we deserve that spot. We came in being the underdogs this year. No one in NAIA expected us to come out the way we did.”
Millikan said that the team’s goal is to “play well every week you have a chance” and that the Lady Rams could make the 2015 NAIA tournament, which will be held May 12-15 in Pooler, Ga.
“We’ve been on a nice solid run,” Millikan said. “That’s what you’re looking for – consistency.”