This past weekend the Lady Rams golf team won its first Sooner Athletic Conference championship tournament, beating national champions Oklahoma City in Oklahoma.
“It’s a great accomplishment to win the Sooner Athletic Conference,” said head coach Kevin Millikan. “This was our fifth attempt, and the best we had ever done was runner up.”
Millikan said the team had to overcome the cold, wet weather conditions while competing.
“The girls played great this week,” Millikan said. “They showed a lot of resolve in the weather and the harsh conditions they played in both Friday, and Sunday. Saturday was rained out.”
Even though Millikan was confident in his team, he said that any team could win the SAC tournament depending on the condition of the team that day.
“In the national championship, it doesn’t matter what you’re ranked when you go in, it’s a matter of how well they play that week, any team could win it,” Millikan said. “In the men’s national tournament last year, a team who was ranked twenty-third won the whole thing. So, you just have to play well that week and that was our goal: to go in there and be competitive and see how we stack up.”
The Lady Rams went into the championships ranked fifth in the NAIA, Millikan said.
“We knew we were capable of winning this tournament but knowing you’re capable and going out and doing it are two different things,” Millikan said. “They showed a lot of heart in how they pulled it off.”
Millikan praised senior Alex Schies, who has been on the team since she was a freshman.
“Alex Schies, who is a senior, won the tournament as a medalist,” Millikan said. “She also won it last year, and all four of her years with Texas Wesleyan she has been named conference player of the year.”
Millikan also talked about the accomplishments of new rising stars like freshman Emily Hunt.
“Emily Hunt, who’s a freshman, was named freshman of the year, ” Millikan said. “We had four girls finish in the top five, which means that they made the alternative team. Making the alternative team is just based off your performance in this one tournament.”
Hunt and Schies, as well as sophomore Trudy Allen and junior Elena Romero, made the alternative team, Millikan said. Two of them even made the All-Conference team.
“Alex Schies and Trudy Allen made All-Conference team which is voted on by all of the coaches, and it’s the top five players in the conference based on their performance throughout the entire season,” Millikan said.
It wasn’t just the players that drew in the awards. Millikan said he was also named SAC coach of the year, and that he was only named coach of the year because of how good the team had played this season.
“You don’t get that award unless your athletes play well,” Millikan said.
Millikan said that what the players did over the weekend was the real story. All the players credit their success to Millikan’s coaching, said junior Jaci Trotter.
“I love how coach Millikan sees our potential as a team as well as individually and guides and encourages us to be the best players we can be,” Trotter said.
Freshmen Aubrey Zastoupil said Millikan’s skills were one of the factors that made her pick Texas Wesleyan.
“Coach Millikan is one of the big reasons I came to Texas Wesleyan,” Zastoupil said. “He’s one of the best coaches I’ve gotten to play for, and I’m looking forward to the next three years to see how he can make the team even better.”
Millikan said he was proud of the team for winning the high-stakes tournament.
“Winning this weekend gets us an automatic bid to the national championship, so we are automatically in and do not have to wait for the selection show to find out if we have a large enough bid,” Millikan said. “But Oklahoma City will get a large bid and will be tough competition once again in the national tournament.”
Millikan said the Lady Rams are now working to prepare for the national tournament.
“It was exciting to be able to punch that ticket and automatically be in the national tournament,” Millikan said. “Now we just start getting ready. We have about a month to prepare, and we’re excited about that and hoping to have more success.”
The Lady Rams host the Lady Rams Golf Classic on April 30 in Burleson. The NAIA National Championship is May 22-25 in Florida. For more information, go to ramsports.net.