Central Michigan University Battle Creek Junior Hannah Matthies has loved playing golf since she can remember. Graduating from high school as a 4-year varsity athlete for the women’s golf team, the only thing that could make her college experience better is getting back out on the course representing maroon and gold.
“I saw a tweet sent out by CMU saying they were attempting to pass funding for a girls’ golf team,” Matthies said.
Immediately interested, Matthies started doing research about who the predicted coach would be, when practices would start and decided take a swing in the dark.
“I emailed him asking if they were going to have open try-outs for walk-ons. About two weeks later I had a couple of try-out rounds set up with him which resulted into walking onto the team when the season started in the fall,” Matthies said.
Although excited to be on the team, Matthies had to make a lot of adjustments to keep up with her new schedule of practices, tournaments and training in addition to school work. Transitioning from being just an average college student to the life of a student athlete was an adaption she had to make quickly.
“I definitely have a lot less time to do things this year. Especially on the weekends. However, I can say that I have gotten monumentally better at time management. I have to plan everything out ahead of time to make sure I can get everything done,” Matthies said.
Since starting on the team in fall 2014, Matthies and her fellow lady Chippewa golfers have been through a number of challenges. Right after the fall season started, the team received news they were not expecting.
“It was probably the second week of the season and we all showed up for practice but our coach was not there. Later we learned the athletic directors had to let him go because he did not have some of the qualifications he claimed to have,” Matthies said.
Without a coach for the first half of the year, the team had to run practices by themselves, figure out how what they needed to fix during tournaments and face a plethora of other challenges along the way. However, through this experience Matthies was able to find a positive light.
“Our team has faced a lot of adversity this year. Since I am one of the oldest on the team, I found myself taking on a leadership role. I definitely think this experience has made me grow as a person,” Matthies said.
Now in their second season, the team has since been assigned a new coach, Cheryl Stacy. Stacy spent eight years at the University of Michigan as the head and assistant coach of the women’s golf team.
“I think having a coach has benefitted our team immensely. We actually have a direction and goals. She structures practices that help us reach those goals and we play as a team because we have something to play for,” Matthies said.
Matthies and her team have experienced their fair share of hardships. However, this does not prevent them from having fun as well.
“I think one of my favorite experiences this year with the golf team was Spring Break. We all went to Jacksonville, Fla. and just really bonded as a team. That’s something I really think we were lacking first semester,” Matthies said.
With one year left at CMU, Matthies is excited to see what experiences and opportunities her senior season can bring the team.
“I think after this building year we all know what it takes to compete in the MAC and after a lot of preparation in the summer, we’re going to come back as a top contender in the conference,” Matthies said.
“We’re only losing one person and gaining a talented freshman so we should be able to build on the solid base we established this year.”