Illinois women’s golf duo to compete at regionals
May 8, 2014
Freshman Stephanie Miller was in her dorm room with her roommate, freshman gymnast Sarah Lyons, when the NCAA announced the team and individual qualifiers for golf Regionals. The two student-athletes were watching the Golf Channel awaiting results for the Illinois women’s golf team. The team itself wasn’t selected, but when it was announced Miller and senior Ember Schuldt qualified to play at the Central Regional, the two freshmen began jumping around, yelling in excitement.
Both Miller and Schuldt would have preferred that the team qualified, but they’re happy to accompany one another from May 8 to 10 to Stillwater, Okla., and the par-72, 6,200-yard Karsten Creek Golf Club.
“I’m excited to see how she does this week, and I get to witness it first-hand for once,” Miller said of Schuldt. “I’m so grateful to be able to spend this time with her. She’s a wonderful role model both on and off the course, and I’m so lucky to go on this trip with her. Her final season is slowly closing on a very positive note.”
They will be two of six individual golfers playing a total of 54 holes over the course of three rounds. Neither of the golfers nor head coach Renee Slone has seen the course at Karsten Creek. Assistant coach Jenny Coluccio and her husband, on the other hand, have played the course before. She mentioned the course has generous fairways, but the greens are tricky and play fast.
“The keys for their success on this course are to stay patient and trust their instincts on and around the greens,” Coluccio said. “Our two previous tournaments (the Lady Buckeye Invitational and Big Ten Championships), have been great preparation for what they will see this week.”
Schuldt, an All-Big Ten second-team selection, is the first three-time Regional qualifier in Illinois history. The first two times she qualified, Schuldt competed with the team.
When asked what it’s like for Schuldt to go to Regionals, Coluccio said, “She is a great player, but more than that, she is the student-athlete and teammate every coach wishes and wants to have on their team. I was so happy to see her hard work pay off, and her collegiate career continued for a little while longer.”
Miller has also made history by becoming the first freshman Regional qualifier in Illinois history. Schuldt said she’s deserving of this after having “a great freshman season.” Coluccio added it’s “a great achievement” and gives her another opportunity to compete after a less than ideal spring season. Slone concurred saying it’s “a great start to her college career” and that it’s “only the beginning of many more great things to come.” For Miller, though, competing at Regionals just feels like any other tournament.
“We all go out and post a number and see how it compares to everyone else,” Miller said. “It doesn’t matter how old or how young you are. We’re all there to play some golf.”
Ashley can be reached at [email protected] and @wijangco12.