Women’s golf team wins 15th consecutive MAC title


Jennifer Ha watches her drive while playing for the golf team in 2012. Ha was named MAC Freshman of the Year during the 2011-12 season. Photo courtesy of Kent State Athletics.

Lily Flynn

The Kent State women’s golf team continued its winning streak this weekend at the Mid-American Conference Championships at Longaberger Golf Club in Nashport, Ohio, with its 15th consecutive conference title in the tournament’s history.

“I think it was a total team effort,” associate head coach Rob Wakeling said. “We had every player on the team step up. Each day there were individual performances that kind of saved the day and pulled us all together, so it was a team victory.”

The Flashes began the championship tournament Friday, quickly taking the first place spot over conference opponents, Ball State, Akron, Toledo, Eastern Michigan, Northern Illinois, Western Michigan, Bowling Green and Ohio, with an overall score of 303 after the first round. Junior Erin Hawe took the lead during the round, placing in second for the individual title.

“We don’t see [our conference opponents] at all really throughout the year, so it is a little bit of a mystery,” Wakeling said. “You don’t really know who their players are or how good they are, and they’re pretty good. Ball State has a nice team and so does Eastern Michigan and Toledo. They’re all well-coached, and they had some nice players, but our girls just played a little better this week. It was fun to see them though, and see some different faces we don’t see throughout the year.”

After day two, the team remained in the lead with an overall score of 601 and a round two score of 298. It was the fourth time in MAC Championships played at Longaberger that a team has posted a score under 300. Sophomore Jennifer Ha scored a 72 and was the only player to shoot for par during the second round. Her score moved her into a tie for the individual first place title.

Competing through rainy conditions, the team ended the tournament with an overall score of 909, shooting 20-over, 308 in the final round of the tournament. Leading by 28 strokes over second place Toledo and Eastern Michigan, the team secured its 15th straight conference title. In addition to the victory, the team also had the lowest team score in each round for the first time since 2010.

“We feel ecstatic and great,” assistant coach Maddi Swaney said. “All the girls are really happy, but we can’t really describe it. We didn’t really go into this thinking about the [title]. We just told the girls that each day is a one-day tournament, and if we win each day we should be good. That’s kind of how we focused on it.”

Ha pushed her way past the top contenders, taking the individual medalist honors after shooting 222 (76-72-74) in the tournament. Josée Doyon took third with an overall score of 227 (77-74-76).

Next up, the team will compete in the NCAA regional competition May 9 through 11. The location of the tournament will be determined Monday at 9.

“I think, lucky for us, two out of the three possible sites, some so our girls have played on,” Swaney said. “So that can help hopefully, depending on where we go. We’re probably just going to keep focusing on the things we’ve been focusing on the whole spring, and that’s just really working on our short game. That’s really where we can get better always. So we’ll probably work on that.”

Contact Lily Flynn at [email protected].