Mitchell breaks school record in opening invitational


Courtesy of Baker Athletics

Senior Samantha Mitchell executes a practice swing before teeing off. Mitchell broke the women’s golf school record for the lowest round, one below par.

“I knew I was piecing together a good round so I kept telling myself ‘you don’t know what you’re capable of until you do it.” These were the thoughts going through senior Samantha Mitchell’s mind as she put together a round of 71, one under par, to become the women’s golf school record holder at the season opening invitational at Evangel University on Sept. 18.

Mitchell had no idea that she was closing in on the school record until Assistant Coach Karen Exon made the announcement at dinner that night. Mitchell started the day with a sand save on the first hole and knew it was going to be a good day from that point on. She was two under par through the first nine holes and was even as low as three under par on the 12th hole. She made her first bogey on the 15th hole and also on the second to last hole. Mitchell was able to complete the opening round with a score of 71, win the invitational by 17 strokes with a total score of 151 and lead the Wildcats to a third place finish.

Head Coach Andy Kelley has taken over the women’s golf team this year after being the assistant to long time head coach Karen Exon. The two coaches have switched roles as Kelley enters his first season as head coach. Mitchell says that Kelley has helped the program get up to date with team social media accounts and invests a lot of his time to bettering the team.

“Sam is as talented as anyone in our conference and we have a goal for her to not only add her 4th consecutive All Heart of America Team Selection to her resume, but to challenge and compete to be the Conference Player of the Year,” said Kelley

“Being a good leader is something that I really value and I hope that I leave here [Baker] known as a good leader,’ said Mitchell.

Mitchell said she wasn’t expecting to break any records and is proud of herself for piecing together a round. Usually when she finishes, she has a list of things that she wants to improve on but she did not have many complaints after her record breaking performance. She described the school record as “the icing on the cake.”

Mitchell thinks she can continue to challenge her record round of 71 and is excited for the remainder of the season. Though performing at a high level is a goal of Mitchell’s, being a team leader is also high on her list of priorities.

The Wildcats placed third as a team with senior Emily Pennington, junior Annamarie Raybourn and freshmen Reiley Kirwan, Elaena Steffen and Hayli Daugherty rounding out the squad. Mitchell has high hopes for the young team and believes they will improve as they gain more experience as half of their team is freshmen. The ‘Cats next invitational is the Baker University Invitational at Eagle Bend Golf Course in Lawrence on Oct. 17-18.