Champion returns to green

Story by Bridget Cooke, Staff Writer

Winning a national title last spring is an accomplishment UW-Eau Claire women’s golfer Catherine Wagner said she is proud of and adds that she hopes to continue to be successful in the fall season alongside her team.

Wagner, now a senior, has played for the university golf team for the past three years. A letter winner since 2010, this last spring, Wagner became an NCAA Division III individual national title winner.

Over a four-day tournament in the spring, Wagner took the lead after the second day of play and stayed at the front until the very end, where she won in a tight race for   first place.

“There were a lot of the golfers that were super close,” Wagner said. “It was kind of nerve-wracking, but it was really exciting.”

Third-year coach Meghan Sobotta said she is very proud of the senior she has coached over the last       three years.

“It’s something that she will always remember and I know that I will always remember,” Sobotta said. “I am privileged to be a part of that. She made school history with that (title) and it was just something very unique and special for her, and me, as
a coach.”

Sobotta said she looks forward to getting back to the course with Wagner and the rest of the team with the fall season            being started.

The women’s golf team began their fall season playing two rounds Sept. 1-2. The Georgianni Memorial UWEC Invite here in Eau Claire at the Mill Run Golf Course consisted of 20 different schools.

With the team finishing third, Wagner had a total of 80 strokes, ranking 11th overall. Sophomore Kate Engler, led Eau Claire’s team with 76 strokes and ranked third in two rounds of golf over the two day tournament.

Sobotta said that the team hopes to get better week by week, working on small aspects of game play that should
be improved.

“It’s a new season, new team,” Sobotta said. “We lost three seniors last year — they will be missed, but we have Catherine, defending national champ — and senior — coming back as well as Kate Engler, who is a sophomore, but played in the national championships last year in the five spot.”

Wagner had similar thoughts about the lack of playing experience the new players bring and the expectations others may have.

“I think the pressure kind of rides on me, being the oldest one — kind of the leader of the team — but if I just stay focused I think it will turn out well,” Wagner said.

Engler was very happy for Wagner and her achievement of a
national title.

“I think Catherine’s a great player, she’s really competitive and she hits the ball a very long way. We’re all pretty dedicated,” Engler said. “We like to work hard. I think that if we all just concentrate and work hard we should be able to improve a lot.”