While the majority of the student body was at home enjoying the summer, a talented group of women headed to Destin, Fla., with one goal in mind: a national title.
The Cru did everything they set out to do and more. They not only brought home the first place hardware, they also set a number of school records.
Boasting a final four-day score of 1239, the ladies beat U.T. Tyler.
The reality of the accomplished dream still hasn’t dawned on the team.
“Having won a national championship at times still hasn’t set in for me, and I don’t really feel like it will until this journey is over with this group,” junior exercise sport science major Victoria
Junior standout Taylor O’Rear didn’t shy away under the pressure and continues to shoot low scores. Her 300 four-day score set a new school record.
The others were not far behind O’Rear on the leader boards; Elizabeth Davis shot a 316, which placed her 15th individually.
“I honestly couldn’t have told you what I shot on that last day. I just knew we did enough to win, and the celebrating began,” O’Rear said. “It is cool now to know that we broke all of the team records in one season.”
The Cru will be the team everyone wants to beat in the upcoming season.
“We definitely have more pressure this year because we have a target on our back,” O’Rear said. “Repeating is the ultimate goal, and we are going to have to put in a lot of hard work.”
In most cases, when a team wins a championship, it is the result of a great number of seniors. This was not the case at
all with the team. The women dominated the playing field all year with a relatively young roster.
“We have everyone coming back from last year’s team and one incoming freshman. I feel like we will be just as strong,” Thane said.
There was another intriguing set of events during the Cru’s journey to the national championship. Coach Darla Kirby returned to coach the team for one more year.
“You couldn’t have written a better story for Coach Kirby. For her to have already retired from coaching, yet have the opportunity to come back midseason and lead a team to a national championship sounds like a fairy tale,” O’Rear said. “God had a plan for Coach Kirby, and she deserved to win more than anyone out there.”
Kirby is an example that hard work will pay off. Her dedication filters down to her motivated players.
“To win a national championship in my last season as a coach is something I cannot even describe,” Kirby said.
She explained that it wasn’t a difficult task coaching a receptive group of women. She believes they are self-sufficient in a way.
“These kids really push themselves and are motivated for each other. There is not a thing in the world the coach needs to do, but let them compete,” she said.
After Kirby’s departure, the Cru will welcome newly hired head coach Jackie Ralston.The team is hopeful that this transition will be a positive change.
Thane said, “I think coach Ralston is a wonderful person, and I look forward to seeing where she can help take us throughout the next year.”