HANCEVILLE, ALA. – Abbi Yeager was scrolling through Twitter one day and noticed Wallace State was adding a women’s golf team to its athletics programs.
“I knew I had to look into it,” said Yeager, a sophomore and 2014 Fairview graduate. “I’m now fortunate enough and excited to be on the first women’s golf team (at Wallace State). I hope we can one day look back and know we were the start of a strong program.”
Yeager is among seven females on the inaugural Wallace State women’s golf team. The group began fall practice on Monday and plans to play its first fall event in mid-September.
Wallace State women’s golf team members are Yeager, Leigh Allison Reeves (Boaz HS), Ashley McCormick (Southside), Chloe Kraus (Olathe Northwest HS in Kan.), Madison Autwell (Glencoe), Taylor Ruehl (Cullman) and Makayla Smith (Lexington).
Wallace State golf coach Dan York, who enters his 29th season at the college, believes the first women’s class is very talented.
“It’s an outstanding group of young ladies. They are bonding together and becoming like sisters. I think they’re going to represent Wallace State very well,” York said. “All I can see is some excited young ladies with a smile on their face, looking forward to getting to the golf course every day. I expect good things from this group. Our goal is to come to the golf course each day and work hard to get just a little better. It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon.”
Wallace State announced in January that it was adding women’s golf to its championship-caliber athletics program. Women’s golf is the eighth sport at Wallace State to offer scholarships to potential student athletes, joining baseball, softball, men and women’s basketball, volleyball, men’s golf and cheerleading.
Kraus is the lone non-Alabamian on the women’s golf roster, but she has slipped in and felt right at home in Hanceville. Kraus had two requirements as she was searching for her college choice – she wanted to find an institution with a reputable athletics and theater program.
Kraus said she and her father searched for women’s golf programs online, and Wallace State was one of the three colleges she narrowed it down to. Her father eventually made a call to York, and Krause signed a letter-of-intent to play at Wallace State weeks later.
“Wallace State wasn’t the closest college by any means, but something made me want to check it out. It just seemed the best choice for me, especially after visiting campus and meeting with the coaching staff,” Kraus said. “It also helped that there’s a Chick-fil-A right up the road. None of the other colleges had that.”
Yeager, Ruehl and Smith are the three sophomores on the team.
“Last year I was sitting in class (at Wallace State) and I missed golf. I’m so thankful for this program and the opportunity it allows to drive you to be better. It gives you motivation to want to do more,” Yeager said.
York will lead both the women’s and men’s golf teams. York, a NJCAA Hall of Fame coach, has guided the men’s program to 20 NJCAA tournament appearances, where the Lions have finished national runner-up on three occasions. The men’s program has also won 12 conference titles under York, including the last two (2014 and 2015).
Aleah Scott, a Good Hope graduate, will serve as Wallace State’s women’s golf assistant after spending last season as the college’s top volleyball assistant.
“Aleah is a valuable asset to our program. I’m excited she’s a part of it,” York said.