Womens College Golf Rivalries Katie Mitchell

College Golf Rivalries – Katie Mitchell

What match up does every sports fan look forward to during the season? The rivalries.

The media tycoon Ted Turner once said, “Sports is like war without the killing.” Beating your rival is one of the most important goals for most athletes. The intensity is felt throughout the whole organization. Pressure and fierce competition define these death matches.

college golf rivalries
Ale Walker, Katie Mitchell, Haley Mills, Emily Haas – 2015 Battle of the Bluegrass State Match in Port St Lucie

For my past three years, the first college tournament of the spring has always been against our rival, no matter what school I have been at. The preparation for this tournament begins as soon as the off-season hits two months prior. We know that winning this tournament is a huge boost for our team, school, and self-confidence.

Everyone always wants to know how you match up with the other schools in the area so it means something when you say you’re the best around.

In my family, everyone grew up bleeding orange and blue. Being such huge Florida fans, none of us missed a home football game in the Swamp. Which means I grew up hating schools like Florida State and Miami.

When I was playing at Florida, my coach would announce we would be opening our spring playing against these schools. Suddenly all the football memories of close games and heartbreakers flooded my mind. I wanted revenge for those nights I left the football stadium with tears.

Getting that thrill of victory over the Seminoles like when Tebow and Wuerffel were at the helm was what I pursued.

Although these rival tournaments are stroke play, they feel like a one on one duel. In golf, your focus should be on beating the course, however for this one weekend, it’s conquering your opponent only. Let’s not tell our mental coaches that.

In my career at three different universities, I have gained many friends, even some on the enemy’s side. But for 48 hours, we all know – no hard feelings.

The day comes when the teams roll up to the course, donning the most school colors possible, to battle for bragging rights. Since these bouts are typically not full field events, it makes the competition seem closer than ever. There are no teams to block the sight of the enemy on the range or nervously chat with on the putting green to avoid sharing the same hole.

Everybody knows why they are there, one reason only – to win the state.

I use my ball striking strength to strike a little fear in the opposition early in the day. Snuggling up on the other teams on the range during the warm up gives them a taste of my pure, flush rockets.

Surprisingly, I look forward to waiting on a hole during this event because reuniting with my teammates is like a timeout. We would huddle up on the tee box and report our statuses. We couldn’t wait to ask each other, “How many are you beating her by!” Those are the moments that make the game fun!

College golf rivalries photo
UCF golfer Monifa Sealy, Katie Mitchell, and Robyn Doig at the Florida Challenge in 2014

Making the transition to being a Cardinal and having totally unfamiliar rivals wasn’t as different as I thought. I quickly jumped on the Hate Kentucky Bandwagon. Although wearing red and black together has been quite a new experience for me, I’ve known all along my blood runs red. Being able to win the Battle of the Bluegrass State inaugural tournament my first year at Louisville set me straight.

Leading up to the weekend of competition, our workouts were tough. Some of our final off-season workouts included lots of adversity. Our team chant throughout our lift was “Beat Kentucky!” Grueling sled pushes and strenuous bike sprints prepared us to fight and persevere with Kentucky on our mind.

Game time. Both teams flew to Florida to undertake this duel on neutral ground. People in the airport asked us what it felt like to be on the same plane as the Wildcats. I guess they didn’t want any problems to arise while we were in the air.

During this rival tournament, we stayed and ate together with Kentucky, which was questionable at first but opened the door for us to have jocular trash talk over dinner. Our host families were all Louisville fans so we felt right at home and definitely got the large ladle of nutrients.

The climatic moment for me was during the final nine holes where the format was match play. I was playing along side with my teammate and partner in crime, Emily Haas. She drained a 10 footer to get the one-up win over her Wildcat opponent and we embraced like it was the Solheim Cup. Being such an individual sport, we live for these special team moments!

Flying home carrying both trophies, team and individual, made us proud Cardinals.
After experiencing three schools, I have realized the Louisville – Kentucky rivalry is the strongest yet most respectful. No matter how much pressure we felt or aggressive we were, everyone competed with respect and sportsmanship.

Playing in close quarters with the same teams several times throughout the season allow us to build relationships that other sports don’t. While the rivalry can get heated at times, at the end of the day we all know it’s a game. It’s fun going to war, even if your friends are flying the enemy’s flag.


 

katie mitchellKatie Mitchell is a Louisville Redshirt Senior with an accomplished college playing record.

REDSHIRT JUNIOR SEASON (2014-15)
Named to the all-ACC Women’s Golf Academic Team.
Played in 12 events and paced the team with a 74.18-stroke average through 33 rounds.
Captured the First Coast Women’s Amateur title for the second-consecutive year (4-under-par 140), and placed 15th at the Ladies’ British Open Amateur Championship (1-under-par 145).

At Florida (2012-14), finished tied for 11th at the Tar Heel Invitational, shooting a 216; shot a career-low 69 in the third round, a bogey-free round.

Katie is an avid sports fan who is very involved in her church. She will graduate with a communications major in May 2016 and plans to turn professional.

Follow Katie Mitchell online on Twitter and Instagram

 

* Feature image – Louisville women’s golf team sweeps the hardware at the Battle of the Bluegrass State. All photos – Katie Michell.

katie mitchellKatie Mitchell is a Louisville Redshirt Senior with an accomplished college playing record.

REDSHIRT JUNIOR SEASON (2014-15)
Named to the all-ACC Women’s Golf Academic Team.

Played in 12 events and paced the team with a 74.18-stroke average through 33 rounds.
Captured the First Coast Women’s Amateur title for the second-consecutive year (4-under-par 140), and placed 15th at the Ladies’ British Open Amateur Championship (1-under-par 145).

At Florida (2012-14), finished tied for 11th at the Tar Heel Invitational, shooting a 216; shot a career-low 69 in the third round, a bogey-free round.

Katie is an avid sports fan who is very involved in her church. She will graduate with a communications major in May 2016 and plans to turn professional.

Follow Katie Mitchell online on Twitter and Instagram

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