WCU competes internationally for the first time ever

The Women’s Golf team attended Catamount Athletics’ first-ever international event last week in Kita Hiroshima, Japan. The team finished fourth overall at the Pan Pacific Collegiate Golf Super League event played at the Sapporo Regent Golf Club.  

During their stay, outside of golf, the team immersed themselves in Japanese culture, visiting cultural landmarks and attending local ceremonies. The team stopped in Tokyo before the competition, where they visited the Shibuya Crossing and traveled on the Tokyo Metro.  

During play, the Catamount women finished with a three-round score of 901. Tohoku Fukushi University, a private school in Sendai, Japan, claimed first place with a total score of 881. This score is a total of the lowest four member’s scores from all three rounds. Sophomore Brie Mapanao and junior Elizabeth Lohbauer tied for WCU’s best individual score at 225.   

Lohbauer and Mapanao tied for 15th place at 9-over par. Senior Victoria Ladd finished second for WCU with her total score just one stroke higher at 226. Juniors Kaitlyn Wingnean and Kayleigh Baker finished at 231 and 235 respectively. 

 Many team members said the tournament was a pleasant warmup for the season ahead. 

Although we had a tournament to play, I believe all of us were very relaxed and just soaking in the experience [of] being in a new culture and meeting new people,” Mapanao wrote in an email. 

Baker enjoyed the many activities the team was able to participate in while abroad.  

“We attended a traditional Japanese tea ceremony where we wore ceremonial kimonos and whisked and drank matcha tea… My favorite part was the culture. People in Japan were super friendly and very curious about us Americans.” Baker finished fourth for WCU and 27th overall. “This trip was beneficial because it allowed us to honestly just go on vacation with a little golf at the end. It was nice to sort of relive summer break after the first week of classes. It also gave us the opportunity to explore another country and its customs,” Baker wrote. 

“I think this trip is a great team bonding and learning experience to start the season. Playing in a foreign country with all different cultures gave us a different perspective on the big picture in life. Life isn’t always about how good the scores are but getting better every round and enjoying the process,” freshman Sadler Miller wrote.   

Sophomore Brie Mapanao believes the trip was constructive both on and off the course. “To be able to see the level of competition of international teams was just amazing. Also, as a team, we made so many new memories together, we all had a lot of fun.” 

Sadler Miller echoed Mapanao’s comments. “It was an experience we’re all going to remember for a very long time to come,” Miller wrote. “It helped us realize that we’ve all got the skill and capability to not only win individually but as a team.” 

 WCU Women’s Golf will return to the greens Sep. 25 and 26 for the Aggie Invitational, hosted by North Carolina A&T at the Bryan Park Players Course in Greensboro. 

 For more information about WCU women’s golf or other Catamount sports, visit catamountsports.com.