ANDERSON, IND. – There was plenty of celebration in a van traveling north along Indiana State Highway 13 Sunday, Sept. 4.
And with good reason.
Manchester University's women's golf program broke a dry spell of better than five seasons in compiling team top honors at Anderson University's Raven Invitational. Starting off with a first-round best 362 Saturday, Coach Tara Boone's team put their foot on the gas pedal in Sunday's second round at Killbuck Golf Course, carding a 332 which is the third-lowest team round in school history.
"We knew this could happen … we just had to go out and do it," Boone admitted after her squad wound up the 36-hole tourney at 694. "It was pretty unreal (Sunday) though to see them come in at 332. They weren't going to be denied … they wanted to win."
Junior Katie Smith (Wabash, Ind.) paid immediate dividends in her first event as a Spartan. She wound up an individual medalist, carding rounds of 84 and 80, for a 164. Sophomore Haleigh Fernandez (Selma, Ind.) and junior Kaitlin Powers (Indianapolis, Ind.) were right behind her at 165 and 170. Fernandez helped fuel the fire during the final round with a blistering 78.
"All three of the returning players have showed so much desire and passion in the work they've done over the off-season," Boone noted. "They wanted to get better because they knew what Katie could do and what all of that might add up to. This tournament win was the first of some solid goals set by this bunch. I'm really happy for them … it means a lot of the program."
The Black and Gold continue their fall campaign Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 10 and 11, competing in Hanover College's Invitational.
NOTES: MU's most recent tournament title prior was in September of 2010 at their home invitational … Smith's medalist award was the school's first since former standout Mary McCauley did so during the 2010-11 campaign … Fernandez' 78 is tied for the sixth-lowest 18-hole score all-time.