CORVALLIS, Ore. — After a challenging season, not many people expected the Oregon State women's golf team to even advance to regionals.
"We were all kind of saying that we just wanted to have a good time, and just laugh, smile, enjoy each other, enjoy what we are doing right now, because we are here now,” said OSU senior golfer Amanda Minni. “We only get it once; just soaking it all up. I think everyone had really good mindsets and energy, and just enjoyed it a lot and that helped us be successful."
But after being one of the last teams selected, with a second-place finish - the highest in program history - the Beavers earned a spot at this year’s NCAA Championships for the first time since 1998.
"At the end, we all came together and we're all like, 'Oh, we all shot under par. That's awesome,' and even just knowing we all finally came together as a team without pressure, I think that was a big thing for us,” said Ducks junior Chayse Gomez.
Oregon State struggled to find their consistency throughout the season, but it all came together when it mattered most.
"[OSU head coach Dawn Shockley], she's been saying the whole year that we will all fire at the same day at some point,” said Minni. “It's bound to happen. You guys are talented. It will. And it just so happens that at regionals we did that, which is so awesome."
"All year I tried to remind them and show them stats of teams they've beaten - individual teams they've beaten - because it ultimately comes down to belief,” said Beavers head coach Dawn Shockley. “If you believe you can do it, it kind of gives you that confidence, so I'm hoping this group just realizes this wasn't a fluke. They did it. They went out there; they believed in themselves, and they stuck to their routines and what they could do, and they got it done."
And the team is ready to show what it can do on the national stage.
"We are that good and we can compete with all the best teams,” added Minni, “so I think this week coming up, before we leave, we're going to be practicing hard and hopefully we can make it to match play and show people what the Beavs are made of."
The team plans to continue that underdog mentality: The Beavers are ranked 29th out of the 30 teams competing.