By Taylor Christensen
Being crowned as the National Champions of NCAA Division II in the 2021-22 season, the UF’s women’s golf team is hopeful for another successful season.
Currently, women’s golf is ranked sixth in the country, and Coach Dominic Guarnieri is looking forward to continuing the success.
“We have high hopes for this year, we’ve started off the spring pretty well,” Guiernieri said. “We played three tournaments and haven’t finished worse than second, I think we are definitely trending in the right direction.”
As 2021-22 National Champions, UF is the team to beat. However, Coach Guarnieri says that the pressure does not affect the team atmosphere.
“With having so many girls returning, they feel like they have something to prove. They want to get back in at least the position to compete at the national championship,” Guarnieri said.
The team has been hard at work this season to defend the national title. Senior Jill Schmitmeyer believes that confidence is the key to success when doing so.
“It would have been very easy for us to put extra pressure on ourselves trying to defend our title,” Scmitmeyer said. “At the very beginning I might have felt a little pressure, but early on I think we all came to the realization we shouldn’t feel pressure, and we should just be confident.”
The team has four returners from last year’s national championship team that play a huge role in the success of the team. Coach Guarnieri believes that having these experienced golfers will lead to more success out on the green.
“Having those four returners, the belief, and knowing what it takes to do it [win nationals] is going to be a huge advantage for us,” Guarnieri said. “As far as the spring goes, we are taking it one day at a time. Everything we are doing now is geared towards post season, which is conference, regionals, and hopefully the national championship.”
Most recently finishing the spring invite on Tuesday, March 21, the team finished in second place. This tournament hosted four top-25 teams. Scmitmeyer was the top finisher for Findlay finishing in a tie for fourth with a 222 (+6). She ranked second in the field in par five scoring at -3 for the week and carded rounds of 73 (+1) and 74 (+2) in her final 36 holes.
Junior Gabby Woods also held down some good scores coming in sixth, and sophomore Erin Mulcahy finished eighth place in her event.
Seeing this kind of success for the team is showing some progress and consistency that could lead the team to another national title.
“Winning the title, the first time was an indescribable feeling. Having all your hard work pay off and achieving something you’ve dreamed about is one of the best feelings in the world. Doing it back-to-back would be all the better,” Scmitmeyer said. “I can’t imagine how amazing that would feel, but I am hopeful and confident that we will get to find out.”
The Oilers will take the green once more in Georgia on Monday, April 3 at the North Georgia Bracket Challenge.