40 in 40 - 2003-04 Women's Golf Team Success
Celebrating the 40th Anniversary of Title IX, wmubroncos.com takes a look at 40 key moments/females in the history of women's athletics at Western Michigan University. Though the selection process, an effort was made to highlight a moment and player/coach from each of our current women's sports programs, as well pay respect to our women's legacy sports. A different feature will be released each of the 40 days, July 24 through Sept. 1.
2003-04 Women's Golf Team Success
There are times in a program's history when things just click. That time for WMU women's golf came during the 2003-04 campaign.
In only the program's sixth season of existence, Western Michigan golf embarked on what is to date its most successful campaign ever. Prior to 2003-04, WMU had won sixt team events, including a team triangular meet in 1999 and two of its own events, the Broncos Invitational and East/West Rio Verde Invite, both in the spring of 2003.
"This was an important season for the program because we learned that we really were good enough to win tournaments. It was a big step and it definitely gave us a boost every time we teed it up," commented then and current head coach Cindy Trout.
"It gave us much needed confidence to know we were doing the right things to PREPARE to win.
"I can clearly remember the reaction of the team after they each learned what their teammates had shot, and realized that we may have won another team title. To get four really good scores over the course of two or three days is quite a feeling of accomplishment - it's really a great, great feeling."
Maybe that spring was a spring board for the following year because the following year the Broncos opened with a team title at the Ball State Cardinal Classic, finishing first out of a 17-team field. This event is, or should be, on of WMU golf's favorites as the Broncos have captured the team title four times to date.
During that season opening team win, Stephanie Donkin earned medalist honors for one of her two career individual titles. Her final round 71 was her first ever collegiate round under par en route to finishing with a 36-hole score of 144. Erin Thorne, then just a freshman, finished alone in third in her first collegiate event.
WMU's second to last fall event, the Huskie Classic hosted by Northern Illinois, was team title number two as the Broncos compiled a team total of 605, still the fourth lowest 36-hole team score in team history. Again, a WMU golfer claimed the top individual spot as well with freshman Eric Deschamps, also carding a final round score of 71.
During the spring Western Michigan captured two more team titles with the first coming out West at the Bobcat Desert Classic. Finishing with a 597 over two rounds, the third lowest 36-hole total ever, was good enough to best the field of 18 teams. Donkin again led the way, finishing fifth. It was one of five top-five finishes during her junior season.
The Broncos once again claimed the team title in their own event, the Bronco Invitational, finishing first out of 11 teams. This time it was Caitlan Roschek who paced the team, finishing second along with Deschamps with a two-round score of 155.
The true metal of the 2003-04 team came through during the Mid-American Conference Championships. Kent State, which has still never lost a team title in the event's existence, had not ever relinquished a first round lead prior to 2004. WMU took that with an opening-round score of 301.
Despite not completing the task of winning a championship, Western Michigan registered its best MAC finish ever, second in the field of nine teams. For that effort and the entire body of work during the 2003-04 season Coach Trout earned MAC Coach of the Year and Donkin became only the second Bronco to that point to earn First Team All-MAC.
"Individually, I think Stephanie Donkin's 71 at the Ball State tournament in the fall of 2003 was her first sub-par round, and I specifically remember Erin Thorne's 70 at the 2004 MAC Championships. She was amazing. It was great to watch her methodical approach to a taking on a course.
"I especially remember her reaction after making a big putt on the 18th hole with a nice gallery watching. She was normally pretty quiet, but not when that putt for 70 went in the hole," added Trout.