Common goal drives Women's Golf at Big 12 Championship
April 21, 2011
By Madeline Hays, Texas Media Relations
As the Big 12 Championship begins on Friday in Columbia, Mo., the Texas Women’s Golf team is rallying around one unified goal - to light the University Tower orange.
The lighting of The University of Texas Tower has been an iconic tradition for 74 years. Implemented by Carl J. Eckhardt Jr., the orange glow is used to recognize a myriad of outstanding University accomplishments.
Three of the five women have previous appearances at the Big 12 Championship under their belts. They believe that their experience will serve them well this weekend, and will also help the two newcomers to the event stay focused.
“This is my third Big 12,” said junior leader Nicole Vandermade. “I hope that gives me an edge. I know how to prepare mentally for it and not psych myself out.” Vandermade enters the tournament coming off a sixth-place finish at the PING/ASU Invitational (April 1-3).
Coming off of a career best tie for fifth place at Arizona State and playing in the No. 1 position for Texas, sophomore Madison Pressel agrees with her teammate.
“(PING/ASU) was the first time that I had been leading after two days. That was my first time in the top-five, too, so it’s giving me a lot of motivation and confidence going into this weekend,” Pressel said.
Sophomore Haley Stephens added that her previous experience at the 2010 Big 12 Championship keeps her focused because she “knows what to expect.”
For the other two student-athletes in the Texas quintet, this is their first time participating in postseason play. Freshman Rebecca Lee-Bentham and sophomore Katelyn Sepmoree are both excited and nervous.
“I’m excited to get there and see what it’s all about,” Lee-Bentham said. “I don’t really know what to expect, but I know we’re going there with the same goal that we began the season with.”
“I’m thrilled to represent UT,” added Sepmoree. “Of course, I’m nervous, but it’s a good nervous. I’m ready to compete.”
Lighting the campus landmark orange would be the epitome of what the Women’s Golf team has been working toward all year. It would symbolize the accomplishment of what Vandermade said was also head coach Martha Richards’ desire - to bring back the greatness of Texas’ golf culture.
“We said at the beginning of the year that it was something we wanted to do to represent The University of Texas,” Sepmoree said. “It ‘s everything that we’ve worked towards. It’s our accomplishment as a team shining.”
And at the helm of the program, Richards has the utmost confidence in her team’s goal.
“If we worry about being really present and patient on each shot, and being really committed to the swings we take and the shots we select, I think that at the end of the day it will produce that burnt orange Tower we’ve been working toward,” Richards concluded.