“Hail Mary, Tom Brady.” Sometimes you just have to close your eyes, give it your all and hope it all works out. -Elsa Diaz, Spider Golf
TRANSITIONS are always hard. Going into my freshman year of college, I had a few ideas of what it would be like and how to prepare for it. Unfortunately, my preparations failed me. I struggled to find a balance between my athletic, academic and social lives. The transition from my childhood life to my college life left me searching for what I once thought were staples. In the first couple of months, I was without my family. My relationship with my family occupies a large part of my life. I relied so much on them growing up that a part of me felt like it was missing when I went to college. Fortunately, I found a “new family” as a member of the University of Richmond women’s golf team. Everyone on the team was there for me through the ups and downs of my first year, especially the other freshman (Isabella Rusher, Annie Collom and Kathryn Young). Knowing that I have this support system, gives me confidence as I continue my college years.
Being an athlete teaches you to be focused on a goal. From the very first golf team meeting, last semester, our team’s main focus was to win conference. Every tournament we played prior to that was practice for when the day actually arrived. When that time finally came, we were prepared. The entire tournament rested on the last three holes of competition. In those holes, everyone played their hearts out. Jessica Lydia, a senior and our low-scorer at conference, sank her last putt to clinch the victory. When the scorers wrote a #1 next to our team’s name, a whole host of emotions arose.
I turned on my phone and had texts from friends to mere acquaintances congratulating us on the win. LaRee Sugg, the first coach of the women’s golf team and now our associate athletic director, began to cry. When I arrived back on campus, people kept coming up to me with congratulations. We were the first women’s golf team to ever win a championship here, and I had no idea how much this meant to so many people. I am beyond proud to be part of a group of women who were able to accomplish this.
The conference win meant an automatic bid to NCAA Regionals. The entire week after our win, we geared up for the national tournament. Going in as the 17th seed gave us a certain mindset. We were the underdogs. We knew that we had to play some of our best golf to make it to the National Championship round. Unfortunately, we did not perform as well as we had wanted to, and did not move on. Everyone was a little bummed after this, but we left with smiles on our faces. This tournament gave us the much-needed experience for when we return to Regionals next year.
My freshman year was a whirlwind of emotions scattered with successes and losses that ended on a high note. Winning conference/going to NCAAs and forming my own family was everything that I had dreamt of. In these next three years at the University of Richmond, I hope for a few more conference tournament wins (ending with a spot at the NCAA Finals) and a stronger bond with my newfound family.
A native of Dover, Mass., freshman Sophie DiPetrillo was named All-Patriot League First Team after finishing fourth at the conference championships. She was Richmond’s best scorer at the NCAA Regionals and finished with the team’s third-best stroke average during her freshman season.