Illinois women’s golf looks to future with two new faces joining roster

Senior+Crystal+Wang+and+sophomore+Isabel+Sy+move+their+equipment+on+the+course.+The+Illinois+womens+golf+team+has+recruited+two+new+players+for+the+upcoming+season%3A+Mattie+Frick+and+Anna+Ritter.+

Photo courtesy of Illinois Athletics

Senior Crystal Wang and sophomore Isabel Sy move their equipment on the course. The Illinois women’s golf team has recruited two new players for the upcoming season: Mattie Frick and Anna Ritter.

By Matthew Sinele, Staff Writer

The Illinois women’s golf team ended the season placing fifth in the Big Ten tournament, earning the team a trip to Regionals in Tallahassee where they placed ninth. While they made solid improvements from the 2020–2021 season, the Illini feel that they still have a lot of room for growth.

With senior Kornkamol ‘Stang’ Sukaree moving on to test her luck in the pro-circuit and senior Crystal Wang returning for one more season, the program is looking for a duo to have the same kind of impact that these two had.

The Illinois women’s golf team seems to be taking steps in that direction after signing two extremely talented golfers for the upcoming 2022 season. Both Mattie Frick and Anna Ritter are set to hit the greens in Champaign this fall.

Mattie Frick comes to Illinois from Peoria, Ariz., where she attended Liberty High School and racked up an impressive list of accolades during her four years with the Lions. She led the team to four straight District Championships, with one of those runs resulting in a state championship.

While this is impressive, to say the least, her success goes far beyond the accomplishments of her high school team. Frick’s 2021 season included two individual championships, five top finishes for the Junior Golf Association of Arizona, two top three finishes nationally and a JGAA open win. She was also named the JGAA player of the year in 2018.

It’s quite clear she knows her way around the golf course, and as a Spanish Honors Society member and two time National Society of High School Scholars honoree, she will have a tremendous opportunity to excel in the classroom as well. 

Coach Renee Slone had the chance to watch Frick’s first ever national victory at the AJGA D.A. Points Open and believes that she has what it takes to replicate her resilience at the collegiate level.

“It was an outstanding display of confidence, poise, and mental strength …” said coach Slone. “Mattie is a high achiever and has a remarkable ability to manage a very full schedule.”

The next commit to join the women’s golf team, hailing from New Albany Ohio, is Anna Ritter. Much like Frick, she too has had quite the impressive start to her junior golfing career, being named both Girl Golfer of the Year and Female Athlete of the Year in the state of Ohio two years in a row.

The two-time All-Stater was named the OHSAA State champion in 2019 and was able to drive her team to not one, but four straight State Championships. Ritter has also earned 18 individual medalist wins throughout career, setting state records in the process.

Her success has led to her gaining vital experience on the national level that is sure to show in her time with the Illini. The competitive environment that Ritter has come to expect is something that coach Slone looks toward with great enthusiasm for the seasons to come.

When asked what she believes Anna Ritter coming to the University of Illinois could mean for the golf program, Slone talked about Ritter’s importance as a great teammate.

“She understands team dynamics and the importance of creating an environment that will challenge each teach member to be her best,” Slone said.

With the exit of Kornkamol Sukaree, creating this type of environment around Crystal Wang for the upcoming season is vital to the teams Big Ten Championship hopes. Anna Ritter’s ability excel in a competitive team position and Mattie Frick’s work ethic may just put the Illini one step closer to making those hopes a reality.

 

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