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Junior leads women’s golf toward WIAC this weekend

October 5, 2006

On a team of only six women, junior Jenna Gutzwiller does her best to help lead her young team.

The UW-River Falls women’s golfer is the only upperclassman on the roster with three sophomores and two freshmen.

“My neighbor golfed,” Gutzwiller said. “She’s the one who convinced me to try it.”

That happened when Gutzwiller was in junior high school, and now she’s nearly 21.

At her Elk River, Minn., high school, Gutzwiller spent her time focused on golf. Her team was very competitive and practiced a lot.

In fact, it was in high school where she had one of her greatest accomplishments in golf.

“I played at a course my senior year of high school and after nine holes I was only one over,” Gutzwiller said. “It was a day where I felt like I couldn’t do anything wrong. The ball went where I wanted it to, and I had confidence in my swing I never had before.”

Coming to River Falls was an easy choice for Gutzwiller, an elementary education major and mathematics minor.

“River Falls has one of the top-rated elementary education programs in the country,” Gutzwiller said. “Also, I love the atmosphere here. The small classes, teacher-to-student ratio and all the class choices are very attractive.”

This season the Falcons have competed in four meets this season, and Gutzwiller has finished first on for UW-RF in three of them.

She most recently finished tied for 18th overall at the Stevens Point Invite. Prior to that, Gutzwiller tied for 60th at the Div. III Midwest Classic.

At the UW-Oshkosh Invitational, Gutzwiller finished 18th again. To start off the season, at the Eau Claire Invite she finished 88th.

Head Coach Reid Perry has been very pleased with Gutzwiller’s poise this season.

“If she is committed to making the changes in her swing (which is already quite good), her future is quite promising,” Perry said.

Gutzwiller follows a fairly simple motto in life: Live, love and love.

“And most important of all, laugh,” Gutzwiller said. “I think laughter can change anything.”

Gutzwiller likes to do anything for a good laugh.

One time before a meet, she and teammate Katie Kantrud bought a pair of little boys’ sandals to use as a putter head cover, and in every meet people make comments about the shoes on their putters.

Besides being a teammate to goof around with, Gutzwiller also looks up to her.

“She never gets frustrated when she golfs,” Gutzwiller said. “She takes it shot by shot and is always smiling, no matter how she plays. She is also keeping the team laughing.”

Gutzwiller likes to spend her spare time writing, playing poker and relaxing with family and friends.

She also enjoys following the Minnesota Twins and was excited with their recent win to clinch the American League Central.

“I told everyone all season long that they were going to come back,” Gutzwiller said. “Especially when they were 10 and a half games behind. Well now we clinched the AL Central Division and we got Joe Mauer clinching the batting title and Justin Morneau having his best season yet. All I can say is it has been quite a year.”

This weekend, the Falcons are at the WIAC Meet in Watertown.

Gutzwiller is very optimistic for what her team will take out of the weekend.

“I just hope no one leaves disappointed,” she said. “I’m not going there expecting to place, but I would really like to leave with a sensation that I did what I needed to do.”

Ending the final weekend, Gutzwiller reflected on the past month and was very modest.

“I haven’t really played well at all this season, so that is what I want most of all for myself this weekend, to have a weekend where everything goes right and actually play it well,” she said. “I hope not to get frustrated with myself and to keep in mind, ‘It’s just golf.’”

In this weekend, Gutzwiller is looking to overcome torn ligaments in her thumb. She said if she can tolerate the pain, she’ll do just fine.

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