Alexa West established a pattern this season of playing improved golf the deeper she got into a particular competition.
Envision how good the Marian University freshman could become if able to apply this template to her college career.
A former standout at Whiteland Community High School, she recently helped the Knights claim a second consecutive Crossroads League Championship title by a single stroke against Bethel College at Eagle Creek Golf Club in Indianapolis.
West also was named Player of the Year by a vote of league coaches.
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“Alexa has been our No. 1 player all season. I thought she would be very good, but she’s exceeded my expectations,” 11th-year Marian women’s golf coach Brett Cope said.
“She definitely has the skills to play, and she’s made the transition to college golf very smoothly. And Alexa does not like to lose, which I feel is her greatest attribute.”
Next up for Marian is the 2015 NAIA Women’s National Championship, May 12 to 15 at the Savannah Quarters Country Club in Pooler, Georgia.
And, oh, how West likes this course.
In October’s NAIA Women’s Preview, West tied for seventh-place individually in a field of 87 golfers with a 36-hole score of 152 (or eight over par).
“That,” West said, “was my favorite tournament.”
Even though her freshman season isn’t officially complete, West likes the way it has unfolded to this point.
“I think my freshman year went way better than I expected it to be. The team was just so loving, and they really accommodated me and took me in,” said West, whose final competition at Whiteland resulted in a 17th-place effort at the 2014 IHSAA Girls Golf State Finals at The Legends Golf Club in Franklin.
“My high school team was like a family, so I didn’t know if I was going to miss that or what the girls would be like,” she said.
All seven of the players on Marian’s roster are from Indiana high schools, including three seniors in former Bloomington South standout Katie Dennis, North Decatur product Tara Lecher and former Ben Davis golfer Katie Kirschner.
How would this trio, along with another established veteran in junior Darrah Holder, respond to a freshman being grouped with the opposing teams’ No. 1 player?
“I would say the second semester was definitely a lot better than the first one,” West said, laughing. “To me, I don’t really think of myself as No. 1. I just think I’m going to go out and play my best. I wanted the other girls to understand that, yes, I’m young, and, yes, I might be taking your spot, but I also want you to play your best.
“It was about trying to build relationships with them. With me and my skills that I brought to Marian, I think it pushed everyone else to get in line. To know that I’m serious about it and that she’s here to help us.”
And will be for three more seasons.
Marian’s three departing seniors will be replaced by Cope’s latest recruiting class of current Roncalli High School senior Kristin Foresman, along with Taylor Wilson (Martinsville) and Emily Tilton (Pendleton Heights).
Tilton placed seventh individually this past fall at the IHSAA state finals with a 73-81–154; Wilson tied for 13th with an 80-77–157 to help the Artesians finish team runner-up to Evansville North.
West, as a sophomore, will be considered one of the Knights’ leaders.
A distinction she’s most certainly earned.
THE WEST FILE
Name: Alexa West
Family: Parents, John and Dana; brother, Zane, 22
High school: Whiteland – 2014
College: Marian University
Major: Business Management
Favorite TV show: “HGTV”
Favorite food: Macaroni and cheese
Favorite movie: “The Benchwarmers”
Favorite athlete: Andrew Luck
Favorite team: Indiana Pacers