Wichita State golfer Gretchen Huhnerkoch bogeyed the first hole on Tuesday and usually that starts her thinking bad thoughts.
Not on this day. Huhnerkoch, a sophomore, showed her maturity and didn't fall apart after the tough start. She finished the round with a birdie to win medalist honors at the Shocker Invitational, leading WSU to the team title at Sand Creek Station in Newton. Her second-round 70 tied the WSU record.
"I was able to get it back pretty quickly and I kept my cool," she said. "I knew I had to keep playing well in order to win today."
A lot of Shockers played well to give WSU its first title since 2005. WSU shot a school-record 11-over-par 587 for 36 holes. Natalie Samb shot final-round 71 to finish econd with a 144. Adin Stromgren matched Huhnerkoch's 70 on Tuesday to finishe third at 2-over-par 146.
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WSU, with a 285 on Tuesday, finished 12 strokes ahead of second-place Cal Poly. It beat the previous 36-hole record (set in 2009) by 20 strokes.
"A great two-day performance," coach Tom McCurdy said. "We just lit it up today."
Huhnerkoch's level play particularly made McCurdy happy.
"She's a had worker, and extremely competitive," he said. "There's times when she gets in her own way, because she gets amped up. She held it together today, and we had been waiting for it to happen."
After the bogey, Huhnerkoch fought off the inclination to fall into old habits.
"I just would make a couple bogeys in a row and I would let it (bother me)," she said. "I knew I had the skill, but the mental part got in my way. I just really tried to focus on each shot. I knew if I did that, the result would take care of itself."
Newman finished fifth with a 641.
Team scores—1. Wichita State 302-285—587; 2. Cal Poly 314-297—611; 3. Eastern Washington 313-303—616; 4. Northern Colorado 317-311—628; 5. Newman 321-320—641; 6. North Dakota 321-323—644; 7. Utah Valley State 331-317—648; Upper Iowa 342-328 —670.
Individuals—1. Huhnerkoch, WSU, 72-70—142; 2. Samb, WSU, 73-71—144; 3. Stromgren, WSU, 76-70—146; 4. Holmstedt, E. Washington, 75-72 _ 147; T5. Slivers, N. Colorado, 76-74—150, Adell, Cal Poly, 80-70—150; Beaudoin, North Dakota, 76-74—150; T8. Carbon, E. Washington, 77-75—152; Farley, Cal Poly, 78-74—152; T10. Weber, Cal Poly, 77-76—153; Allan, Newman, 79-74—153.
Other WSU scores—T14. Lauren Hassell, 81-74—155; T24. Abby Bartlett, 85-76—161; 19. Hannah Martin, unattached, 80-78—158.
Other Newman scores—T22. Megan Birdsey, 76-84—160; T27. Andrea Martires 83-81—164; 33. Alyssa Balding, 83-84—167; 37. Mikala Payne, 90-81—171.
Advantage, Adney — After ups and downs early in the season, WSU sophomore Emily Adney settled in as consistent force at outside hitter for the volleyball team.
The Missouri Valley Conference named her player of the week after recording 14 kills and a .353 attack percentage in Friday's win over Southern Illinois and 14 kills and a .263 attack percentage against Evansville on Saturday.
"The way we're playing allows her to hit a lot of balls in a lot of places," WSU coach Chris Lamb said. "She's got great range. When the timing is there, she's pretty terminal."
Adney, from Golden, Colo., has double-figure kills in 11 of the past 12 matches, including a career-high 21 at Creighton on Oct. 9.
The Shockers (13-5, 6-3 MVC) play at Indiana State (9-13, 1-8) on Friday and at Illinois State (13-9, 3-6) on Saturday. WSU trails second-place Missouri State (16-4, 7-2) and Creighton (12-7, 7-2) entering the weekend. No. 14 Northern Iowa leads the conference standings at 9-0.
Good start — The move to college tennis isn't easy, especially for South American players. They must adjust to hard courts, in addition to a new culture and new school.
So WSU men's coach Brad Louderback was pleased to see freshmen Guillermo Alexander Nicol Gomez and Juan Javier Estenssoro go unbeaten last weekend at the RazorRacket Classic.
The experience should serve all the Shockers well in the ITA Regional that begins Thursday in Norman, Okla.
"We gained a lot of confidence," Louderback said. "We played well."
WSU went 15-1 in singles play and 9-3 in doubles.
WSU's women's team plays in its regional beginning Thursday in Fayetteville, Ark. The Shockers haven't played since winning three singles title and a doubles title in the MVC individual championships on Oct. 10.
Nero honored — Wichita State senior Tonya Nero was chosen MVC athlete of the week for the third time this fall. Nero finished 12th in a field of 261 runners Saturday in the blue division of the NCAA Pre-National meet in Terre Haute, Ind.