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Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Wildcats start season with reduced roster

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Dani O'Keefe takes a swing during practice for the fall 2014 season at Bidwell Park. Photo credit: John Domogma

The Chico State women’s golf team will be driving and putting with only five golfers this upcoming spring season.

The players currently on the roster are: Abbey McGrew, Dani O’Keefe, Spencer Downey, Sydney Zink and Bianca Armanini.

Nick Green, head coach of the team, was holding open tryouts to add players, but nothing came out of it.

“I put it out there because currently our entire roster is made up of five players,” he said, “and if one were to get injured I would have no backup.”

It was more of an insurance, but the team will be moving forward with the five they have, Green said.

“I was hopeful (to get players), but there was a score requirement and a lot of people are really busy,” Downey said.

The decrease from seven to five players was not because of the team having issues with recruitment, but from a couple of players who did not make the grade requirements to be eligible for the team, Green said.

“Being a collegiate athlete, there’s three things,” he said. “You got school, your sport and then there’s everything else. You can only do two out of the three and be successful at them.”

Because of the team being shortstaffed, the players know they are going to have to play solid right from the get-go, Green said.

“They know that there isn’t going to be much room for bad shots and bad scores — can’t make those big mistakes,” he said.

Downey knows that having only a handful of players is a big impact on the team because if one of them are unable to play, the team will be left with four scores, she said.

“There is no room for leeway,” Downey said. “Those five always travel and out of those five, four scores are counted at tournaments.”

Despite the disadvantages of only having five players, the team is looking on the bright side, such as the fact that they are going to play no matter what, Green said.

“There is no time for slacking in your practices or your preparations,” he said. “When you know you have to play a tournament, whether you enter it yourself or going as a team, you have to try and get yourself ready.”

Friendship is a big part of any sport and junior golfer O’Keefe realizes how close of a group they have become, she said.

“We all have a good time being with each other,” O’Keefe said. “We encourage each other to do our best and have fun as well.”

Downey also looks at the team as a family, she said.

“The team has always stayed pretty small, so we’ve gotten used to that more tight-knit team orientation,” Downey said.

The Wildcats are traveling to Texas for their first tournament of the spring season on Feb. 23 and 24.

“I cannot wait for Texas,” Downey said. “We came off a fairly good ending last semester at our Sonoma tournament. I think we have the momentum, and I think we are going to make a statement in the opening of spring.”

Matthew Vislosky can be reached at [email protected] or @MattVislosky on Twitter.

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