May 12, 2005
EAST LANSING, Mich. - As the Michigan State women's golf team prepares to head to the NCAA Championships for the fifth time in sixth seasons under head coach Stacy Slobodnik-Stoll, the Spartans will look to two of their best golfers to lead the way to a top showing. Sophomore Heather Rose (Chillcothe, Ohio) will be one of those veteran stars looked upon to bring her game to the table.
Rose is one of only two players on State's roster who will enter the event with any previous NCAA Championship experience. She was the lone Spartan freshman to appear for the Green and White last season, where she finished tied for 116th overall in her first NCAA Championships outing.
This season, she hopes to pace the way for the team and make a positive impact in her return to the NCAA Championships. Msuspartans.com caught up with Rose, before she and her teammates make the venture to Sunriver, Ore.
Q: You are one of only two members of the team with any NCAA Championships experience. How do you prepare for a tournament of this caliber?
A: I don't think that you want to prepare for it any differently. I just think that you want to maintain your focus. You need to focus extra hard on the things that you need to work on, especially short game. These are some of the most challenging courses that you will get a chance to play on, so short game is the most important part.
Q: How can you help some of your NCAA Championships first-timer teammates get ready?
A: You have to make sure that they are not nervous. It is just another tournament, granted it is playing against the best teams in the country, but you have to keep them focused and preparing like it is just another regular tournament, not getting too worked up for it.
Q: What makes getting to the Championships such a special accomplishment for you?
A: It's such a big deal because it's the top teams in the country. In basketball, it is such a big deal to make it to the national championship and that's the top 64. This is the national championship, but this is the top 24. So it makes it that much more difficult to make it and to be in that elite status is very important for a program.
Q: What is something that you have learned this season?
A: I have learned more to focus not on my score, but rather on each shot individually.
Q: What has been the most exciting experience this year?
A: The most exciting thing was probably just as a team, our development. We went through a lot of struggles; almost the whole season we were down on ourselves. Then to see us gradually get better and then to beat Ohio State at Ohio State, take third at the Big Tens and qualify for nationals after no one thought that we would. That was a great experience.
Q: Now that you have almost two full years of college and college golf under your belt, what are some differences that you see in yourself and in your game over your time at MSU?
A: I have definitely grown up a lot. I am more experienced outside of golf. I have had a few lessons that I have learned. Golf wise, I have learned to stay patient, trust myself and be confident. I know that I am not going to go out there and shoot perfect grounds all the time but that I can still get it done. With whatever I have to work with that day, I can still shoot a decent number.
Q: What has been your favorite memory so far this season?
A: Winning at Ohio State was the best.
Q: What are a couple of goals that you have set for the Championships?
A: Team wise, I think that taking top 10 would be great and I think that we could do it. Individually, to finish in the top 10 would be ideal, but top 20 would be very acceptable.