Freshman leads team to victory

Adrian Northrup

Ever since freshman Torie Ives was eight years old, she has loved the sport of golf.

After being coached as a child and playing all through high school, golf became a big part of Ives’ life.

“I love the sport,” she said. “It’s so much fun because it’s different every day to play. It’s always interesting.”

It wasn’t until she came to UW-Eau Claire that she achieved one of her greatest accomplishments in the game.

While the rest of Eau Claire was celebrating Homecoming, Ives, along with the rest of the Blugold women’s golf team, was celebrating a third straight WIAC conference championship.

Leading the pack, Ives, of Osseo, grabbed conference medalist honors after winning a sudden death playoff on the first hole.

Ives had the second-best round in tournament history Saturday with a 73. Her
UW-Oshkosh opponent tied her 158
two-day score.

She is the fifth Blugold golfer to grab
such honors.

“It felt good,” she said of the win. “As a freshman you’re always trying to prove yourself. You don’t think about it that way, but looking back on it, you’re trying to make a name for yourself. It feels good to win something like that so people know my name.”

The championship for the Blugolds qualified the team for the NCAA Div. III national championships, something senior teammate Jesse Thompson said was the ultimate goal.

“We were very excited, extremely excited,” she said. “The only thing we were shooting for was to win. It means a lot, especially as a senior, it meant a lot.”

Thompson said the team was very happy and supportive of Ives’ win, but it was a team effort that brought about the championship.

“Everybody brought something to the team,” she said. “Everyone contributed.”

Ives’ performance and her ability to adapt to the team as a freshman has been amazing, Thompson said.

“She came in like every freshman does,” she said. “She probably has the most mature mind of a freshman I’ve ever seen. We were really lucky to get her.”

Being a freshman, Ives said she has really enjoyed being a part of the team.

“Certain players on the team have made it easier on me,” she said. “There’s always that little ‘get picked on because you’re a freshman,’ but I don’t mind it and it lightens the situation a little bit.”

Thompson said Ives always keeps everyone laughing.

“Her personality is great,” she said. “She’s really positive, really upbeat. She knows what she wants and she doesn’t mess around.”
Coach John Means agreed.

“She’s the comedian,” he said. “She keeps everybody loose.”

Coming into the championships, Ives started the team off strong, Means said.

“She got us in position the first day by playing a great game,” he said.

Thompson said Ives’ ability to manage her misses makes her succeed.

“You only hit a certain percentage of shots solid,” she said. “She can mark where she missed it and come back. That’s what makes her a great golfer.”

Although Ives has made great accomplishments with the team already – she also took the title of WIAC women’s golfer of the week in September – she said she hasn’t made any long-term goals yet.

“I’m still feeling things out . and taking it match-by-match,” she said. “I’m definitely proud of this weekend, though.”
Ives, a biology and education major, said she would love to someday teach at the high
school level.

But for now, she said she’s just focused
on nationals.

“Of course everyone comes and wants a national championship,” she said. “And I definitely think it could happen.”