Jacqueline Slinkard ’24 watches her shot in practice last fall.

Courtesy of Middlebury Athletics

Jacqueline Slinkard ’24 watches her shot in practice last fall.

Women’s Golf

Women's golf springs into spring season

Courtesy of Middlebury Athletics
Jacqueline Slinkard ’24 watches her shot in practice last fall.

The women’s golf team is gearing up to begin NESCAC play in a short few days, when they’ll compete at the Hamilton Invitational on April 10. 

The team hopes to build on a strong fall 2019 season in which they finished in the top three at all five of their tournaments, including a first place finish at their home meet at Ralph Myhre. 

Although the team lost three seniors from last year, it has a strong core led by senior captain Erika Nakagawa ’21. Nakagawa has not played in a NESCAC match since the spring of her sophomore year, as the last two seasons were canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and she studied abroad the fall of her junior year. Despite the lengthy gap and uncertainty surrounding this season, Nakagawa is excited to finally compete again.

“I have some nerves going in because I thought I was retired,” Nakagawa said. “I was not expecting [the announcement about spring sports], but it’s obviously great news.”

Some other members of the team to keep an eye out for include sophomores Kayli Li ’23 and Katie Murphy ’23, who both look to improve on several impressive showings from last fall. Also, freshman Kaylynn Xia ’24 looks to make an immediate impact in her first season of play.

Entering his 13th season with the team, coach Bill Mandigo expressed his gratefulness that the team has a chance to compete this spring. He looks forward to watching his team out on the course once again and hopes that all the campuses can stay healthy, allowing the season to run smoothly.

Despite the challenges with the weather and Covid-19 safety restrictions, the team has prepared for the season in a variety of ways including chipping practice both indoors and outside, as well as weight lifting together. The adversity has also helped the team grow closer.

“I’m feeling super good about this year’s team,” Nakagawa said. “Even though we haven’t been able to play, we’ve still been making an effort to hang out and get dinner together. I’m feeling a lot closer and more connected with my teammates.”