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Eagle’s Golf Aims to Finish Final Season with a Bang

Despite the program shutting down for good after this season, the Oklahoma Christian Eagles women’s golf team has remained dominant during the 2024 season. Assistant coach Kate Hurst spoke on how the team felt as they began their final season together.

“It is very bittersweet. I think reality finally hit me at our most recent event when I saw other coaches watching my players,” Coach Hurst said. “Knowing I have a lot of interest in my players makes me feel like I’ve done something right as a coach. We are trying to keep things as normal as possible, but it is definitely far from normal to help your entire team as they navigate through the transfer process.”

The team is determined to play out the season as well as they can, with Coach Hurst explaining how their goals are still the same: become national champions.

“Even though our program is getting cut, our goals have not changed,” Coach Hurst said. “We still want to qualify for regionals and qualify for nationals and obviously be national champions. These goals are very attainable given the quality of players we have on the team. Another very important goal for us is never giving up and playing hard for your teammates.”

The team has made impressive results this year, going first and then second in their first two tournaments of the year. Coach Hurst explained how this was a group effort.

“The level of talent we have on the team is incredible,” Coach Hurst said. “I would absolutely be sure to follow all the ladies as they achieve great things at other universities.”

Having to compete for a program’s final season when you still have years left of eligibility to compete brings a new issue to the scene: the transfer portal. While not too much can be said at this moment about who they want to play for, juniors Sophia Benavides Herberth and Maria Torres mentioned that playing in nicer weather conditions would be nice.

“One thing I’m going to take into consideration is just the weather,” Benavides Herberth said. “There’s no specific place yet, but one where you can play year-round golf would be nice.”

“Sophia and I want to play all year, and I come from a country where I can play golf year round,” Torres said. “When I came here, I was super shocked with the weather, not being able to do anything for multiple weeks because of the snow. So I’m keeping that in mind.”

Benavides Herberth and Torres both went on to talk about how they both want this last season for Oklahoma Christian to be the best one yet.

“We put in just as much effort as we did when the program wasn’t going to be terminated,” Torres said. “Now that it is, we all just have a bigger goal to make the last season the best we can and prove we can compete.” 

“A theme we have is we are playing for each other,” Benavides Herberth said. “We play for each other now to help improve the team ranking. But also we have other schools watching us right now, our scores are being put out there right now, so the better we play this season, the better schools we can get into. I think that adds a little pressure, but we’re fine. We’re still staying in the present at Oklahoma Christian, so we want it to stay that way for now. We’re just competing for Oklahoma Christian.”

The Eagles finished first as a team at Battle at Hilton Head Feb. 18-20, beating out 17 other teams in the process. Benavides Herberth spoke on what the win meant for the dying program. 

“It means we’re stronger than last year,” Benavides Herberth said. “The fact it was our first tournament back competing helps us get the sense of it. It wasn’t our best performance either, it just means I think we are going to be really strong this season. Show that everyone’s been working.”

The Eagle’s next tournament will be April 1-2 at West Texas A&M University.

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