Oct. 19, 2005
Therese Hession, Ohio State head coach, returns for her 15th year at the helm of the Buckeyes. Hession expects new leaders to emerge from her four returning letterwinners. She predicts a challenge for a spot in the lineup from every player as the Buckeyes plan to remain competitive both in the Big Ten and nationally. Renovations to the famed OSU Scarlet Course and the privilege of hosting the 2006 NCAA Championships set the Buckeyes up for a challenging season.
This year will bring a new challenge to the Buckeyes at home as the Scarlet Course is renovated throughout the year. The changes will bring a new feel to the old course, first built in 1938. Accuracy will be a key to success along with length off the tee. The greens have been expanded to bring the bunkers closer and allow only a small margin of error in the short game. Head coach Therese Hession believes it will pose one of the toughest challenges the student-athletes have ever seen. Currently, the Scarlet Course is ranked among the top college facilities in the nation by Golf Digest. The renovations are expected to move Ohio State’s facility up to one of, if not the top spot, nationally. The course is being overseen by Ohio State alumn Jack Nicklaus.
The Buckeyes also will benefit from a new practice facility. Current plans indicate more than 22 shots can be practiced on the new pitching area. “It will be fantastic because the team can really work on their short game,” Hession said. “I’m a big believer in that part of the game.”
Going For Five
The Buckeyes have their sights set on consecutive Big Ten title No. 5 when they compete in the Big Ten tournament April 28-30 in Bloomington, Ind. The championship will take place at the par-72, 6,142 yard IU Championship Golf Course.
“I really think we’re going to be a contender,” Hession said. “I have no doubt about it. Even with as many new players that might make the lineup, the championship isn’t until the end of April and we’ll have a lot of time to work and develop their games. I think the tournament will be an interesting shoot out and I’m interested in getting out and playing with them (the league) to see how we stack up.”
A Trio of Seniors
Ohio State will seek guidance from the team’s three seniors – Brittany Adams, Erin Borowiec and Jennifer Selfinger. Selfinger brings the most experience to the team with two trips to the national tournament under her belt. She was an instrumental part of the team that finished fourth at the 2003 NCAA Tournament. She was named second team All-Big Ten last season following a third-place finish with a score of 226 in Ann Arbor, Mich. She helped the Buckeyes tie for sixth place at the 2005 NCAA Championships in Sunriver, Ore.
Adams played well in the spring a year ago, making her first trip to the Big Ten tournament. She recorded her best finish last season at the Lady Northern Invitational with a tie for 28th place.
While Borowiec has not seen much action competitively, she will challenge for a spot in the lineups throughout the season, using the experience gained throughout her career.
“We’ll be looking for some leaders to step up with this many new people,” Hession said. “They’re going to have their hands full.”
New Faces to the Program
This season brings a quartet of fresh faces to the program. Stephanie Connelly, Jessica Hauser, Jennifer Cassidy and Gemma Webster will join the team for the 2005-06 season. Each will look to contribute and fill the gaps left in the lineup. Connelly, from Pasadena, Md., will join the team as the most veteran of the three freshmen. A two-time POLO/AJGA Junior All-American, Connelly won three Maryland high school state titles. She won the 2003 AJGA Taylor-Made Adidas at Bentwood event and has four PGA junior series wins.
Hauser adds quality mechanics along with experience. The 2004 Wisconsin Player of the Year, from Hartland, Wis., won her first AJGA tournament over the summer and helped lead her high school team to the 2004 state championship. Individually, she was the runner-up in the state tournament the past two years.
Cassidy has six Top 10 and two Top 5 AJGA finishes. Joining the team from Dalton, Ga., she will compete for a lineup spot as she continues to build tournament experience throughout her first collegiate campaign.
Completing the quartet is Webster, a Glasgow, Scotland, native. Webster has a proven swing and adds greater depth to the roster. A member of the Scottish national team, Webster was the runner-up in the 2002 Scottish Girls Championship.
“They love to play,” Hession said of the newcomers. “They’re pretty tournament savvy. I think they’ll make an impact. They’re going to bring a lot of energy and a nice shot in the arm while lifting people’s spirits because they badly want to play.”
Rounding out the Roster
Dana Je and Carling Coffing complete the 2005-06 roster. Je returns for her junior campaign following a successful run at both the conference and national tournaments last year. She earned second-team all-conference honors after tying for fourth at the Big Ten tournament and was named to the All-NCAA Regional Team following the Buckeye’s win of the East Regional tournament.
Coffing adds depth and experience after a strong freshman campaign. She was a member of the Big Ten and NCAA lineup and she also contributed to the lowest team score, 856, in school history at the NCAA East Regional tournament, won by Ohio State.
“Carling and Dana will add a lot to our team,” Hession said. “Dana has more experience then Carling but they’re both good players. I think we’re going to be leaning on them as well as our seniors for leadership this year.”
It All Comes Back Home
The 2005-06 schedule will provide a variety of preparation and experience for the relatively untested Buckeyes. With a quality national schedule, Hession wants to provide her student-athletes with the best experiences and competition available. The team will send a lineup to three tournaments in the fall, kicking off with the University of New Mexico McGuire Invitational in Albuquerque, N.M., the site of the 2008 NCAA Tournament. The squad then travels to Chapel Hill, N.C., for the Lady Tar Heel Invite and Knoxville, Tenn., for the Mercedes Benz Collegiate Invite.
“In the fall I kind of get a feel for the players’ games,” Hession said. “Then I have all of January and February to really work on their weaknesses so when we come out in March, we’re ready to go.”
The spring leg of the season will open with the Northrop Grumman Regional in Palos Vardes, Calif., hosted by Ohio State. The team travels to the Central District Invitational, Cal Invitational, Liz Murphey Invitational and the Peg Barnard Invitational before they host their second tournament, the Lady Buckeye Spring Invitational, at the OSU Scarlet Course near the end of April.
Following the Big Ten championship in Bloomington, Ind., and the NCAA Regional championship, the Buckeyes will come back home to host the 2006 NCAA Championships May 23-26.
“We’re looking forward to hosting nationals,” Hession said. “It’s a privilege to host it and one we’re really looking forward to. Our players are proud of what we have here and I think it’s neat that the rest of the country gets to see what we’re all about.”