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2001-02 Women's Golf Season Preview

September 12, 2001

Jaime Ratner '03
Senior Captain Jaime Ratner
2000-01: A LOOK BACK
With a roster comprised of one junior (captain Jaime Ratner), three sophomores (Kasarin Chakkaphak, Katie Gravel and Jeannie Limpert) and one newcomer (first-year Kathryn Kuchefski), a youthful 2000-01 women's golf team gained valuable experience during the fall and made a surprising surge in the spring, qualifying for the Division III NCAA Tournament and posting a host of strong finishes along the way.

The precocious Kuchefski paced Amherst as the team's top finisher in all four fall outings, leading the Jeffs to a pair of 11th place finishes against a host of Division I competitors at the Dartmouth and Yale Invitationals, a sixth place finish at the Mount Holyoke Invitational and a 355-371 road win in the school's first ever dual match against archrival Williams College.

Picking up right where she left off, Kuchefski then fired an 84 to lead all golfers in Amherst's spring opener - a 374-386 dual match win at Embry-Riddle University in Daytona Beach, Florida. From there, the rest of the squad followed suit, including Gravel, who shot an 88-92-180 to lead the Jeffs to an eighth place finish at the Boston College Invitational and posted a consistent 84-84-168 in a fifth place team finish at the Hartford Invitational. However, the team saved its best outing for the all-important Massachusetts State Championships, where it shot a season-low 346 to place third behind national powers Harvard University and Boston College. The Jeffs had three players shoot in the 80s; Ratner fired a scorching 83 to finish fourth individually.

Amherst concluded its season with a ninth-place overall finish at the Northeast Championships, hosted by the Jeffs at the nearby Hickory Ridge and Orchards Golf Clubs. Kuchefski again led the way with a two-day score of 87-84-171 to tie for 21st place and every member of the Amherst team finished in the top 50 individually, including Gravel, who tied for 32nd with a 90-89-179. Ratner shot a 91-89-180, Limpert fired a 102-91-193 - including a career-best 40 on the front nine on Sunday for a season-best 91 - and Chakkaphak rounded out the scoring in 49th place with a two-day total of 98-97-195.

2001-02: A LOOK AHEAD
Coming off a season of tremendous growth and invaluable tournament experience, the 2001-02 Jeffs return every player from last season's NCAA Tournament qualifying team, with a trio of exciting first-years adding to the squad's depth and competitive nature. Now a senior, Ratner will once again assume a leadership role in her second season as team captain, while juniors Chakkaphak, Gravel and Limpert are ready to step to the forefront during the latter half of their college careers. Meanwhile Kuchefski - arguably the team's best player as a first-year - could emerge as one of the top players in New England as a sophomore, setting a prime example for this year's crop of newcomers, Emily Foran, Sarah Godwin and Meg Sullivan.

According to 12th-year head coach Michelle Morgan, last year's success (the Jeffs were selected for the Division III National Tournament but chose not to compete due to a conflict with final exams) provided a level of confidence in the team's ability to compete at the highest level, which should come in handy with another challenging tournament schedule around the corner. A second consecutive NCAA Tournament selection is the goal for 2002, with the championship slated in Amherst's backyard at the Orchards Golf Club, hosted by regional rival Mount Holyoke.