Teammates turned family

Freshman golfer Ellie Slama completes a swing. Slama led the team at the Pac-12 Championships.

Emmanuel Goicochea, Sports Contributor

Women’s golf finishes eighth at NCAA Regionals, Nicole Schroeder takes home individual title.

The Oregon State University women’s golf team are more than teammates. They consider each other family.

Dawn Shockley is currently in her second season as head coach of the women’s golf team and coming off one of the best years in program history. 

“The coaches aren’t any better than the players and vice versa,” Shockley said. 

The Beavers placed eighth in the NCAA Division I Women’s Golf Regional Championships. They entered the tournament as the No. 14 seed in the 18-team field Wednesday.  

OSU was six strokes away from placing in the top six and advancing to the NCAA Championships, with sophomore golfer Nicole Schroeder taking home the individual title by two strokes.

Schroeder finished with a 10-under 68-66-72–206. She is the fourth OSU women’s golfer to advance to the NCAA Championships as an individual. This marked the first time OSU had made it to the postseason in consecutive years since 2000-2001. 

“We know that we gotta keep it light, but the girls know when it’s time to get down to business. The more we realize that, the better we become,” Shockley said. 

In just one season under Shockley’s coaching, the team has achieved many accolades such as a new school record for season scoring average. They also won the title at the Rose City Collegiate, the eleventh team title in program history to do so. 

The team finished in eighth place last year in Arizona at the Pac-12 Championship, equaling their best finish at the conference tournament since 1998. 

The team advanced to the NCAA Regionals for the third time since 2006 and the first time since 2012. Placing seventh at the NCAA Regionals, the highest finish ever for the program, and ahead of seven ranked teams, including No. 2 UCLA.  

Last year, senior golfer Susie Cavanagh became the third OSU golfer to advance to the NCAA National Championships as an individual. 

“It’s that frustration that keeps you going because you can conquer it,” Cavanagh said. 

In Cavanagh’s spare time, she enjoys cooking, hanging out with her teammates and hiking around local areas, such as Oak Creek and Bald Hill. 

“We definitely have the most fun. We are constantly having fun,” Cavanagh said. 

Fellow teammate junior golfer Olivia Benzin, tied for shooting the lowest round in school history. Her favorite memory was last year’s regionals.

“Everybody was super close and we missed by just a little. It was a bittersweet moment,” Benzin said. 

Benzin has been putting since she was a kid and finds much to gain from playing. Golfing is almost like therapy, according to Benzin.  

Although the team only stands at seven players, there is still fresh blood.  

Freshman golfer Ellie Slama led the team with a finishing tie for 27th place at the Pac-12 Championship. The Beavers played at the Ohio State University invitational in Columbus, OH on April 15, finishing 5th with a 20-over 301-295–596. 

“My favorite memory is from a couple weeks ago when we were in Ohio,” Slama said. “When we went out to dinner Coach Shockley told us that if we ate everything on our table that we could get dessert afterwards. Nobody wanted dessert because everyone’s stomach hurt.”

Being mindful of what she does and why is a key component when she plays according to Slama. 

“I think about how much I love the game because of all the people who taught me and the people I’ve played with while growing up,” Slama said.

The team serves as a place of camaraderie and empathy for one another, according to Slama.    

“Being on a team where everyone understands what you’ve been through has been really helpful from making the transition from high school golf to college,” Slama said. 

NCAA Championships will take place May 18-23 at Karsten Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Okla.

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