By Mckenzie Masters
Assistant Sports Editor
The women’s golf team begins its inaugural season this fall, just in time to compete in the Gulf South Conference of the National Collegiate Athletic Association.
Leading the team is head coach Andy Rushing, who is in his seventh season in that role for the men’s golf team and also was head baseball coach at Union for 17 seasons.
“I am excited about the prospects of starting a new women’s golf program here at Union,” Rushing said. “It will be a great challenge to be competitive in the Gulf South Conference, but with all that Union has to offer, we can make that happen.”
Practicing before the season, the team of five women has gotten a chance to get to know each other and create bonds before the first invitational Sept. 17 at Freed-Hardeman University.
Katie Smith, senior nursing major, plans to make the most of the bonds formed because this is her first and last year on the team.
“I feel like we are still getting to know each other, but so far I really like everyone on the team,” Smith said. “I think we all click pretty well, and I am excited to see how the year plays out.”
Because the team is small, the women will soon be getting to know each other very well.
Rachel Clardy, junior business management major, considers her role as an upperclassman to be vital.
“As an upperclassman, my goal is definitely to be a leader and mentor for the freshmen both on and off the course,” Clardy said. “My first two years at Union have been the biggest growing periods in my life, and I hope they can say the same thing about themselves in a couple of years.”
The team plays three invitationals in the upcoming season in Tennessee and Mississippi. The NCCAA Nationals will be held in Panama City Beach in October.
The season picks up again in February until the end of the spring semester.
The team of five already has demonstrated talent.
Lindsay McRee, freshman sports medicine major, was a Tennessee State Tournament finalist. The teammates have set the bar high and expect to succeed on and off the course.
The women are ready to make their mark in Union’s athletic arena.
“We are building something from scratch, so that is exciting,” Rushing said. “Every accomplishment will be a first. I really like the attitude of the girls so far, and I look forward to seeing what this group can do.”