WOMEN’S COLLEGE GOLF: OC ready for second appearance at nationals

The Odessa College women’s golf team hasn’t been around for very long and yet the team has already made noise at the national championship.

Last year, the Lady Wranglers concluded their inaugural season with a fourth-place finish at the NJCAA National Tournament.

They’ll be looking for a higher-placing at this year’s national tournament which will take place next week at Duran Golf Club in Melbourne, Fla.

The national tournament will take place from May 20-24.

First-year head coach Brad Stracke is feeling confident about his team’s chances at next week’s national tournament.

“We have all sophomores and they’ve worked very hard to get to where they’re at,” Stracke said. “They won regionals for the first time in program history. I’m really proud of the girls for achieving that. They’re going up against a little different competition. They haven’t gone up against the Florida schools yet. They’re ranked a little higher than what we are. We’re going to go out there and play our best golf. Our best golf should be good enough to come out on top. We have to be firing on all cylinders.”

The Lady Wranglers qualified for nationals after winning the NJCAA Southwest District Championship in Weatherford last month.

The Lady Wranglers enter the championship with a No. 3 ranking in the national polls.

Seminole State (Fla.) holds the current top spot, followed by Daytona State.

New Mexico Junior College is right behind Odessa College at No. 4.

Last year, the Lady Wranglers finished with a team score of 313-317-308-308—1246 from the four-round tournament to finish fourth.

Seminole State is the defending national champion.

This year’s Odessa College team has plenty of experienced golfers including Ailsa Brannock.

“Ailsa has improved a lot from last year,” Stracke said. “She’s been our most consistent player throughout the season. She’s gained a lot off the tee, probably 40 or 45 yards off the tee from the start of the fall to now. Her ceiling has really improved. She’s made us into a top-three team.”

Other golfers that have stood out include Rylie Rodriguez, Claudia Alnajim Revuelta, Rachel Seal and Rosanna Halls.

“We have five girls who have played well throughout the year and they all have the same stroke average which is around 2-5,” Stracke said. “Rylie Rodriguez and Rosanna Halls and Claudia is playing well. She has loads of talent. She can possibly win it as an individual. Rachel Seal has been playing well, too. Those five have been consistently our top five throughout the season. I’m looking forward to seeing what they can do at nationals. They might surprise some people.”

This year’s national championship course will take place at Eastern Florida State College and could provide some unknown challenges.

“I really don’t know much about it,” Stracke said of the course. “I know it has a lot of sand and a lot of water. It’s fairly flat. There’s not a lot of topography. I think it’s fairly wide in the fairways.”