To say that Erika Priebe is following in sister Kayla's footsteps right down to the letter would be accurate except for one thing.
It'd be right down to the number. The Priebe sisters are all about numbers.
The accounting major at UW-Oshkosh was as big a draw for the younger Priebe as it was for her sister three years ago. The reigning WIAA Division 2 state champion from Fox Valley Lutheran High School in Appleton announced this week she will attend Oshkosh and become teammates with her sister this fall when the older Priebe will begin her senior year.
"I was looking for a school that had a good golf program, was close to home and had a great business and accounting program," said Erika Priebe, who chose the Titans over UW-Stout and UW-Whitewater. "When I visited Oshkosh, the golf team was very inviting and friendly. Coach (Liza) Ruetten has been very friendly and helpful as well. I know the school has a very strong accounting program because that is what my sister is majoring in at Oshkosh."
Kayla Priebe, the 2016 WIAC player of the year, not only took time to talk to her younger sister about her decision, she made a statement about priorities in choosing a college when she made her decision in 2015. After committing to NCAA Division I UW-Green Bay, the elder Priebe changed her mind when she learned that she would be missing 10 class days for matches with the Phoenix and instead opted for Division III Oshkosh where her status as a National Merit Finalist gave her a full-ride academically on her terms.
That clearly had an impact in Erika Priebe's decision.
Ranked No. 7 in the Wisconsin.Golf rankings for the Class of 2018, she is the only golfer among the eight in the top 10 who have made college decisions not to be going to a Division I school. Priebe, who will be the salutatorian of her class according to a Tweet from the FVL account, didn't mind in the least.
"I see the academic/golf balance that Kayla has playing Division III at Oshkosh and I wanted the same," Priebe wrote in an email interview with Wisconsin.Golf. "I did not want to travel during the week and miss class like they do in (Division) I. I think for some people DI is a great decision, but it is not what I wanted for myself. Many accounting students are working full-time paid internships right now through the end of tax season (in April) at a public accounting firm, something I would not be able to do if I was playing DI golf with the spring tournament season starting in February."
Speaking of numbers, the volume of returnees in the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference this fall powers suggests that Oshkosh will need a golfer of Erika Priebe's to battle UW-Whitewater and UW-Stout atop the conference. The Warhawks will return all five golfers off a team that delivered the school its first WIAC women's golf title since 1999 while Stout brings back four of its top five golfers from a team currently ranked in the top 20 in Division III.
"At Oshkosh, I can see myself growing and getting better at golf," said Priebe, who figures to join her sister and junior-to-be Hannah Braun at the top of the Titans' lineup. "Hopefully, I'll be able to help the team win another conference championship (its last came in 2015) and make it back to nationals."