UT Tyler’s Weddle set for national tourney

UT Tyler's Danica Weddle blasts out the sand during a tournament earlier this spring in Longview. The Patriot senior will compete in the NCAA Division III National Tournament this week in Angola, Ind.(Photo by Jake A. Waddingham)

Tuesday morning in Angola, Ind., more than 100 women golfers will coat Zollner Golf Course for the NCAA Division III National Women’s Golf Tournament, and among those golfers will be UT Tyler’s Danica Weddle.

Weddle, a native of Midland, has been the cornerstone of the UT Tyler women’s golf team this year — the only senior amongst four freshmen. Her play earned her a spot into the national event with an at-large bid.

“This for me is such an accomplishment as a senior,” Weddle said. “I’m very grateful … I just need to go out and not over think things and psyche myself out. I know I have the game to compete with the girls that are there.”

Weddle, who is majoring in civil engineering, led the Patriots with six top 10 finishes. She tied for third at the American Southwest Conference Tournament at Crown Colony Country Club in Lufkin and placed third at the Jekyll Island (Ga.) Collegiate tournament against some of the top players in the country.

“I have definitely worked on my short game,” Weddle said. “It definitely helped me out a lot … my whole game is coming together right now. I feel confident in every (club) I pull out of my golf bag.”

In her second year with the Patriots, Weddle said one of the hardest things during the year was to get four freshmen girls to open up to her.

“They were so shy at first,” she said. “I did everything possible to get them to laugh or talk. I’m the type of person that likes to talk … and sitting in a van with a group of girls not talking drove me crazy. But now when we get together we can’t stop talking unless there is food in front of us.”

Weddle said the freshmen — Jordan and Taylor Sloane, Katie Crawford, Marina Rhodes, Emily Benton and Alissa Moe — now call her “Momma D.”

“I am like their mother,” she said. “I make sure they had all their clothes for the tournaments and their shoes and their clubs.”

Patriots’ head coach King Campbell said having Weddle on the team this year has been good in so many ways.

“She’s just the kind of person every team needs to have,” Campbell said. “She’s been a real blessing for us. She’s a good person and makes everyone around her feel special.”

Campbell also credited Weddle with helping recruit several of the freshmen players now on the team.

At the national tournament, Weddle will be joined by assistant coach Grant Spencer, who will be able to assist her with every shot.

“Grant has been great for the program,” Campbell said. “I think they’ll be a great tandem at the national tournament. He knows how to play the game really well and he’ll help her a lot … I’m pretty excited about her chances. I think she has a legitimate opportunity and the game to do well.”

Weddle said she believes if she can stay focused mentally and stay she will post some low rounds.

“I’m pretty excited about going,” she said. “Lately, I can’t sleep. I just want to go … Already having been last year will help calm my nerves (as well).”

Weddle added she would like to thank everyone who has supported her throughout the year, both here in Tyler and at home. She gets started this morning in Indiana and will play four rounds through Friday.

PATRIOT POINTS — The UT Tyler men’s team will compete at the NCAA Division III National Tournament May 15-18 at Mission Inn Resort and Club in Howey-in-the-Hills, Fla.

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