Nicholasville, Kentucky- The Mount St. Joseph University women's golf team has officially been reborn under Head Coach Joe Sparhawk. The Lions who only a year ago had only two golfers travel to the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Tournament, have a bright future. The beginning of that future was on display this past weekend in Nicholasville at the HCAC Championships. Going into this season the Lions only had two returners Emma Schrand (Cincinnati, OH/ McCauley) and Carissa Pitts (Trenton, OH/ Edgewood) , but were looking to revitalize the program with an influx of new talent. Coach Sparhawk recruited 5 freshman to go along with his two sophomores. So for the first time in a few years the Lions were able to build toward becoming a TEAM again. The first year of this rebuilt program has now come full circle as the Lions were able to register a team score at the HCAC tournament, and placed 7th overall in the tournament.
The Lions sent their top five performers to compete in the HCAC tournament, the team consisted of Hayley Quatman (Cincinnati, OH/ McCauley), Sara Eads (Cincinnati, OH/ Colerain), and Isabella Olthaus (Cincinnati, OH/ Seton) to go along with Schrand and Pitts. Expectedly when you have only two sophomores and five freshman it has been an up and down season for the Lions. They have received consistent play out of Schrand, who won her first career tournament earlier this year, at the top of the lineup. The HCAC tournament would prove to be no different for the Lions.
As play opened in Nicholasville the Lions would open the first round with a team score of 359 good for fifth place after day one. They were led on day one by Quatman who fired in a 84, followed closely by Schrand with and 89. The second day of the tournament would not be as friendly to the Lions as they shot a 375 as a team dropping to sixth place overall. The finish, while not ideal was nothing for The Mount to hang their heads about, as they were the youngest team in the field. Overall in the tournament the Lions were led by Schrand who finished 22nd overall with a two day total of 180, she was followed closely by Quatman and Pitts who tied for 25th with a two day total of 182.
When asked about his teams performance Coach Sparhawk had this to say, "Overall, I think the experience was very good for our women. We learned we can compete and play in big tournaments and play well! Sara Eads and Carissa Pitts both broke their best 18-hole and 36-hole scoring records! Hayley Quatman tied her 18-hole best score in the first round with an 84. We just have to continue to get better. We have to get better at understanding the strengths of our games and putting ourselves in the best situation to put the ball in the hole. We are a young team and we will figure those things out and begin competing for a conference championship very soon!"
The Lions will continue to build toward the future this spring as they take part in their non-traditional season.