Updated Mon, Aug 26, 2013 4:35 pm
The Ohio women’s golf team begins its fall season at the Redbird Invitational, and head coach Kelly Ovington believes they are ready to break out as a threat in the Mid-American Conference once again, saying her team is going to “play without fear this year.”
Ovington plans to preach themes such as “confidence” and “preparation” to instill the fearless attitude she wants in her players.
“We’re not going to play trying not to make a mistake,” Ovington said. “We’re going to be prepared for every competition, and we’re going to make sure we believe in ourselves… We’re ready to be a player in the conference.”
For a coach whose team finished last at the MAC Championships last spring, Ovington’s enthusiasm may seem too optimistic, but she has plenty of reasons to think her team is capable of climbing the standings with a good fall season.
“We had some great events last spring,” Ovington said. “We’re looking to build on that, and all of our athletes had great summers from what I understand.”
No kidding. For starters, junior Julie Lechner finished atop the four-day Franklin County Women’s Golf Championships, and sophomore Angela Codian successfully recovered from an injury sustained late last spring and performed well at the Women’s Western Golf Association National Amateur Championship at Monroe Golf & Country Club this past June. Lechner and Codian will return to the Bobcats for the fall season, along with key seniors Kara Brinkmann and Kristen Helmsdoerfer.
If any player could be considered this squad’s X-factor, there should be little doubt that Codian is it. She led the entire team in stroke average during her freshman season, and recorded more top 10 finishes than any other returning player last year. She also posted the second-best single round score in program history when she shot a 68 at the Dayton Fall Invitational. Codian’s single-season résumé speaks for itself, but Ovington still isn’t shy about singing her praises.
“There isn’t much she doesn’t do for our team,” Ovington said with a slight chuckle.
While the returning players are expected to step-up, the team cannot expect to shoot up the conference standings without strong contributions from some new additions. That’s where freshman Hailey Hrynewich comes into play. Hrynewich led Mona Shores High School to four consecutive Michigan state titles and was twice named to the All-State team. Now she must begin a new chapter in her career against tougher competition, but Ovington considers her someone who could make an immediate impact this fall.
The women’s golf team will have its chance to showcase its talent, newcomers and upperclassmen when they open the season on Sept. 8 at the Redbird Invitational in Normal, Ill. Hosted by Illinois State University, the tournament will take place over two days and will feature other MAC teams such as Bowling Green and Toledo.
With her message of confidence in tow, Ovington anticipates her girls to start the fall season strong.
“We should see a lot of good scores from everyone,” she said. “I want everyone to just go out there and relax and have fun at this event. I’d like to see us finish in the top eight, for sure.”