UC Irvine Women’s Golf Squad Is Better Than You Think

The UC Irvine women’s golf team is way more impressive than I thought.
Last week, I wrote an article about UCI women’s golf. However, after printing the article, I realized how much it was missing.
I could blame it on the fact that I am not a golf fan or that the team did not make headlines this season. But those are not legitimate excuses. As associate sports editor, it is my job to know about UCI sports and keep you informed about its successes.
It is important for everyone to know about the hottest teams on campus, and UCI women’s golf might be the school’s most successful women’s team this year.
Our baseball and volleyball teams saw many of their players graduate after their historic seasons. This Anteater club saw none. Next year, the team will return with all of its players.
Looking at their accolades, it is almost scary how talented these girls are. As I mentioned in last week’s article, senior Selanee Henderson is the top returning starter. Besides being named Big West Women’s Golfer of the Week four times, she was also named Big West Women’s Golfer of the Year and one of Golf World College Preview’s top 50 players to watch this season. Furthermore, she was named to the All-Big West first team, and awarded a Golf Week All-American Honorable Mention.
While Henderson is the best golfer on the squad, her supporting cast is not far behind. Take a look at these accolades from last season. Joining Henderson on the All-Big West first team are now-seniors Kim Lorenzana and Jane Chin and now-sophomore Patty Chawalitmetha, who was also the Big West Freshman of the Year. Sophomore Henna Cho made the second team.
The team is, as sports freaks say, ‘stacked.’ Every returning player on the roster is an elite golfer in the Big West, and Coach Julie Brooks is confident that her freshmen will contribute to an already impressive and proven squad this season.
The team’s one blow is that Chin will return next year as a redshirt senior. Redshirting is a college athletics-exclusive rule that allows a player to sit out a year without losing her eligibility. It is most common in college football but not uncommon in other sports.
Usually, teams redshirt incoming freshmen to let them learn and mature in the system. Teams may also redshirt players due to special circumstances, such as injury. Chin is redshirting this year so that she can work on and improve her new revamped swing.
Another important fact that I left out of last week’s article is the success of Brooks. I mentioned that she replaced Coach Kelly Crawford, who is now head coach at the University of Iowa. Crawford led the Anteaters to three Big West titles. Brooks picked up from there, leading the Anteaters to a conference title in her first year, the fourth straight title. She was named Big West Coach of the Year for her efforts.
She is extremely excited about this year’s squad, and we should be as well. Since the referendum, the women’s golf team has been one of the most successful and dominant sports teams at UCI over the last six years.
Last week’s article failed to capture the success of this incredible team, and I apologize to the readers and, more importantly, to the deserving team. This golf squad is one of the most dangerous in the sport.
Last year’s young squad went on to the NCAA Championships and placed an impressive 19th. With all of the returnees who have last season’s experience under their belts, it would not be a surprise for the Lady Anteaters to contest powerhouses like Duke in the NCAA Championships.
If all goes well, the women’s golf team may find itself gaining the recognition of our men’s volleyball and baseball teams in the national ranks. If so, it won’t come as a surprise.