New Mexico Lobos Women's Golf – 2013-2014 Season Preview
Lobos’ 2013 Fall Schedule
Sept. 9-10: Ptarmigan Ram Classic – Fort Collins (Colorado State)
Sept. 20-21: Branch Law Firm/Dick McGuire – UNM Championship Course (New Mexico)
Oct. 13-15 – Betsy Rawls Longhorn Classic – Austin (Texas)
Oct. 27-29: Las Vegas Collegiate Showdown – Las Vegas (UNLV)
Jill Trujillo Quote: “We have played at Colorado State many times. Sammi and Sofia want to do well and of course Manon wants to repeat what she did last year, but she is keeping her head about her. I’m excited to see what this team can do.”
By Richard Stevens – Senior Writer/GoLobos.com
The rings have several functions. They push many buttons.
They sit on Jill Trujillo’s desk as reminders of the way it was and the way Trujillo wants it to be in 2014. They are a call to duty. They are motivation. They are symbols of a proud golf tradition.
They are an alluring tease – like a beautiful package sitting under a Christmas tree waiting to be opened.
So, can Trujillo’s Lobos open that package in 2013-14?
“I have all three of my championship rings sitting front and center on my desk,” said the New Mexico women’s golf coach. “They come in and admire them every day. I tell them they could have one of their own.”
The rings are Mountain West Championship rings. Trujillo’s Lobos, paced by the the hot clubs of Jodi Ewart, ran to three consecutive MW titles in 2008, 2009 and 2010, but you don’t win golf championships off a single scorecard. It takes a team.
Trujillo believes she has the team to return to the MW throne, but there are other Mountain West teams with the same belief and good talent.
So, it’s time to get to work and see what hard work can bring you.
“I’d love to get my first ring and love to get a team championship,” said Lobo senior Sammi Stevens. “In golf, you have to come together at the right time and win as a team.”
Stevens is one of the reasons that Trujillo is confident about her 2013-14 season. Stevens has been an outstanding Lobo for three seasons and has the potential to make her last Lobo season her best. Her senior leadership – and her clubs – are strengthened by the leadership and talents of two other seniors: Manon De Roey and Sofia Hoglund.
“I’m really excited about this year,” said Trujillo. “All three seniors are really pumped and ready to go.”
This trio provides Trujillo with a core of “been-there, done-that” golfers. Stevens, De Roey and Hoglund are solid. Stevens entered the 2013 Mountain West Championships with the No. 2 scoring average in the MW at 76.62. She advanced to the NCAA Regionals as an individual. De Roey won the 2013 Mountain West individual title.
“When you are a senior, you have to take a leadership role,” said De Roey. “I feel it’s my time to step up and help the younger players get around, explain things to them. I don’t see it as a problem. I think I can take the lead.”
De Roey can lead by example. The Lobos open the season Monday at the Ptarmigan Ram Classic in Fort Collins, Colo. It is hosted by Colorado State. De Roey is the defending champ and her win in 2012 (69-68-70) was the lowest 54-hole card in UNM history.
“I won it last year, but I’m just going to go out and play my game,” she said. “I just want to go out and continue to play like I did this summer and establish a good scoring average.”
De Roey had a sizzling summer in Europe. She won the Belgium Women's National Stroke Play tournament by two shots. She was third in the chase for the St. Rule (Scotland) Trophy. She finished tied for 10th in the European Ladies' Amateur Championships that drew golfers from 24 countries.
“I think we’re looking pretty good,” said Stevens. “I’m expecting a good year. We have a lot of new players, but they are showing a lot of potential.”
It’s fair to say the top three spots on Trujillo’s roster going into the young season are going to Stevens, De Roey and Hoglund. But Trujillo believes there is enough first-year talent to keep her seniors on their toes – and looking to shoot a few birdies.
“I’m trying not to get too excited,” said Trujillo. “But these freshmen can play. Freshmen tend to be a little up and down, but I really don’t’ anticipate that with this group. They are a lot more seasoned than a lot of incoming freshmen and they are going to make the seniors play that much better.
“I don’t know any senior out there that wants to get beat by a freshman.”
Three of Trujillo’s Lobo freshmen come with international experience: Katerina Jaeger (Norway), Manon Molle (France) and Eva Saulnier (France). Kalyn Thayer is a freshman from Oregon and Dea Mahendra is a transfer senior from Landers University.
“It’s a big transition from high school golf to college golf,” said Stevens. “It’s so different; a whole different level of intensity.”
The demands of college golf include more travel and juggling classwork around road trips and more intensified practice sessions. The talent in college golf also takes a leap up.
Trujillo’s core of returning seniors gives her that all-important foundation of production and leadership. But she needs two or three first-year Lobos to push at those seniors.
If the Lobos had a major problem last year, it was inconsistency at the bottom of their lineup. That needs to change in 2013-14 – if the Lobos want to add a fourth ring to Trujillo’s collection.
“We have a lot of new players, so it will be interested to see what happens,” said De Roey. “I know of couple of the girls from Europe and I have a good feeling about this team.”
Editor's Note: Richard Stevens is a former Associate Sports Editor and Sports Columnist for The Albuquerque Tribune. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.