SMC Golf: Belles dominate in tourney
By: KATIE McVOY
Associate Sports Editor
It was a long time in coming, but the goal was definitely worth waiting for.
Saturday, on an unfamiliar course to all but one member of the team, Saint Mary's went out and proved that it could play and that it would play to be the very best in the MIAA.
The Belles took home all the honors a team can take home in an MIAA tournament. They won the tournament, defeating league contenders Hope College and Albion, and, for the first time in Belles history, a Saint Mary's golfer won the medal.
"We're extremely excited," junior Liz Hanlon said. "It's been a long time waiting for us to get in there and show that we can play just as well, if not better, than those other teams."
Saint Mary's won the opening MIAA tournament last season but had struggled to find that first-place spot since. They finished a disappointing third in the championship tournament and have bounced between second and third in other contests.
Earlier this season, the Belles managed to put together a record-breaking team finish at a non-conference match and were just waiting for the pieces to fall into place.
"This has been a main goal for us," Hanlon said. "It helps leading up to the championship in a few weeks."
But the fact that Saint Mary's took home the victory was only one feather in Saint Mary's cap. The team had one more reason to pat itself on the back.
Sophomore Stefanie Simmerman made history, becoming the first Belle to win medallist honors.
With a score of 81 strokes, Simmerman tied last year's champion Courtney Rheinhardt from Alma and usual top-10 finisher Stacy Chapman to end in first place.
"We were definitely excited for her," Hanlon said. "We knew going in that she's an awesome player. She's always close, and it was awesome to see her post that score."
But for Hanlon, Simmerman taking home first place was more than a moment to remember. It signaled the possibility that this team can go further.
"Any of the girls on any given day can do that," Hanlon said. "It all depends on the day."
Saint Mary's totaled 338 team strokes, with Simmerman, Julia Adams, Chrissy Dunham and Megan Mattia scoring for the team. Dunham and Adams both finished in the top 10 overall golfers.
All Sports Stories for Monday, September 23, 2002