Stevens: Jodi Ewart Is One Of Best Lobos in Any Sport
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  05/17/2010
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

May 17, 2010

Ewart Photo Gallery

Ewart's Career Highs As Lobo:

* 4-time Mountain West Conference Player of the Year, the only student-athlete in any MWC sport to be recognized four times
* Program's first 3-time All-American (2007, '09 and '10)
* 3-time MWC Championships individual medalist
* UNM's top-3 season scoring averages: 72.12 in 2009-10, 72.68 in 2008-09 and 73.35 in 2006-07
* Lobos' career scoring leader (73.11)
* school-record 5 tournament wins
* 23 top-10 finishes
* 2nd-lowest 72-hole total by a Lobo at the NCAA Championships (289)
* 127 rounds, 2nd-most in school history

By Richard Stevens -- Senior Writer/GoLobos.com

If she played her game in The Pit, smashed her drives in University Stadium, then maybe one of the greatest Lobos ever -- in any sport -- would be a household name like a Roman Martinez, a Brian Urlacher or a Danny Granger.

Instead, very few Lobo fans have seen what she does so well, on a level of excellence never before achieved by a Lobo in her sport.

In a way, that's a shame. They have missed something. They have missed a special athlete, an exceptional Lobo. In another way, that's just the breaks that come with a collegiate game played on some isolated patch of green paradise we humans call a golf course.

That's where Lobo senior Jodi Ewart does her thing: far from the maddening crowd, far from the touch of TV or radio or frenzied UNM fans. However, that doesn't mean this Lobo shouldn't be held up for all Lobo fans to recognize and appreciate.

On her level, the accomplishment of other Lobos often pale in comparison.

So, is senior Jodi Ewart the greatest woman golfer to ever play at the University of New Mexico? The numbers and the wins scream out like a Ewart drive. The only answer is, "yes."

She has won more golf tournaments and more league titles than any Lobo before her. The two-time All-American is UNM's career leader in stroke average. The top three season-stroke averages belong to Ewart as well as the program's 54-hole scoring record.

But dare we go further and ask: Is Ewart the most accomplished Lobo in any sport? That's a tough one because each sport has a unique set of demands, a unique standard of evaluation. It is subjective, more than objective.

But we can say this: Only one Lobo -- in any sport -- has ever been named Mountain West Conference Player of The Year as a freshman, sophomore, junior and senior. And that's Ewart. Kind of gets your attention, huh?

You want more? Well, Ewart is the only athlete at UNM, BYU, Utah, Wyoming, UNLV, San Diego State, Air Force, Colorado State or TCU to be named MWC Player of The Year four times in any sport.

Lobo golf coach Jill Trujillo said that Ewart always had the pure talent to be a standout on the golf course. But would Ewart add that finishing coat of hard work? Would she show the mental toughness needed on the final back nine with a title on the line?

"Something clicked in her where she wanted to be one of the very best players in America and she was willing to put in the work to get there," said Trujillo. "She has such determination and she put that determination to work on the practice course."

Said teammate and roommate Britney Choy: "Jodi has worked so hard to be where she is at with her game. She is tough mentally, too, but a lot of that is because she works so hard to be prepared."

Ewart came to UNM from the rolling hills of Middleham, England, where she put away her soccer ball long enough to fall in love with golf. She excelled at the game and decided to look for a college home in America. Ewart sent out a few DVDs and a resume. Trujillo, then a UNM assistant, decided to check out the video on this young swinger from England.

"When I saw Jodi, I thought, `this girl is something special," said Trujillo, who then invited Ewart to come check out the Land of Enchantment and the Land of Lobos.

Ewart, who also was considering USC and Arizona State, visited UNM and her decision was over with one stop. She liked the feel of Albuquerque and loved the UNM golf facilities. She never visited USC or ASU.

The rest, as they say, is history except that Ewart isn't done trying to carve her name deeper into the UNM record books.

The Lobos are at the NCAA Championships in Wilmington, N.C. which tee off Tuesday. Ewart isn't there to finish in second place. "As always, every time I go to a tournament, I want to win as an individual and as a team," she said.

The NCAA meet marks Ewart's last rounds as a Lobo. "It's scary and exciting at the same time," Ewart said of golf's next step after college ball.

For Ewart, that's the pro tour. She'll start on the Futures where a top 10 finish will give her an LPGA card.

It would be nice, for a couple of reasons, if Ewart storms onto the 2011 LPGA Tour. First, the greatest Lobo woman golfer ever surely deserves to be swinging her clubs at that level.

Second, a lot of Lobo fans could flip on their TVs and finally get to see one of the greatest Lobos ever.

Editor's Note: Richard Stevens is a former Associate Sports Editor and sports columnist for The Albuquerque Tribune. You can reach him at rstevens50@comcast.net.