Golf program looks to become contender by Rashad Lipford


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North Carolina A&T is no stranger to being on the golf scene. The women’s team is wrapping up their second year in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, while this is the first year for the men’s team.

Both teams are led by Coach Richard Watkins. Coach Watkins is no stranger when it comes to coaching.

Before being led to coach here at A&T, he worked at the Gillespie Park Golf Course, where he spent most of his time in the pro shop. He also worked closely with golf course maintenance and taught private and group lessons. He also served as an assistant coach at Page High School, under the direction of head coach Debbie Jones.

The women’s team is made up of 7 young ladies (Sofia Alvarez, Senior, Jocelyn Andrews, Sophomore, Madison Harriman, Freshman, Jill Harvison, Senior, Erica Jackson, Sophomore, Bo Young Park, Junior, and Deja Smith, Sophomore), while the men’s team is comprised of 5 young men (Luis Acevedo, Senior, Cameron Bryant, Freshman, Casey Lindo, Freshman, Cody Lissner, Freshman, Austin Trent, Freshman).

When asked about the women’s performance, Coach Watkins had this to say,

“Last year’s performance was decent, with the women’s team finishing second in the conference behind Bethune-Cookman at the Conference Showcase”, said Watkins. “This year with some key editions, we’ve won 2 out of the first 4 tournaments in the Fall and have finished second place in 3 tournaments this Spring. Those second-place finishes are more important than the wins that we had in the fall, because of the quality of competition.”

The women’s golf team finished second in the Citadel Invitational, Long Island University Invitational, and the Bethune-Cookman Invitational. Those second-place win were more important in terms of the growth that the women’s team has shown. The women’s team finished last in the Bethune Cookman invitational last year, versus this year finishing second.

While the men have almost completed their first year in the conference, they seem to still be in the building stages. The men’s team has finished fifth in UMES Collegiate Tournament and the Trojan Fall Classic. They also finished sixth in the SSU Tiger Fall Invitational.

Coach Watkins is confident in what the mens team has accomplished thus far. 

“There are a lot of good players out there, and there are players out there playing at HBCUs that are capable of playing in other places, but due to the NCAA scholarship restriction you are allowed 4.5 scholarships for your men’s team,” said Watkins.  

Watkins recruits those who he feels are good fits for the team and will help the team progress forward. He is very optimistic about the seasons to come, and prides himself in contributing to the many conference championships that A&T have already received.

“We have one outstanding player, Luis Acevedo, he’s been really good for us this year, while the other guys are still getting used to the competition,” said Watkins. “Their games are getting stronger, and we’ve already got two commitments for next year that are really strong players that will really move the team forward, and we are still looking forward to adding more.”

 

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Golf program looks to become contender by Rashad Lipford