A trip to the University of Wisconsin women's golf camp in Madison last July opened a door for Sydney O'Hearn that she never knew existed, one that will take the Sun Prairie senior to NCAA Division III UW-Whitewater this fall.
"I was unaware of Coach (Andrea) Wieland's interest until the overnight Golf Camp in late July," O'Hearn wrote in an email interview with Wisconsin.Golf. "During the camp, we were able to build a good bond that continued to grow after the camp. ... We started to communicate more and were soon able to have calls and I was able to fit in a (campus) visit during our busy schedules. In those calls and during that visit, Wieland opened my eyes to the opportunities available to me at Whitewater."
Academically and athletically, Whitewater offered O'Hearn everything she wanted in a school. She recently signed an intent to enroll at the school, choosing the three-time defending WIAC champion Warhawks over interest from Carthage College in Kenosha and UW-La Crosse.
O'Hearn, a three-time WIAA Division 1 sectional qualifier, missed out on state berths as a junior by three shots and as a senior by one shot. She placed ninth at the Big Eight Conference Championship last fall after finishing eighth as a junior.
"Playing golf in college has always been a big goal of mine since I was a freshman, but the academic aspect was much more important to me," wrote O'Hearn, who plans to major in physical education with a focus on sports administration and an eye toward becoming an athletic director. "I was contacted by several college coaches. However, they didn't have my degree so I decided to rule those schools out immediately."
O'Hearn is the third Wisconsin golfer in the Class of 2020 to cast her lot with Whitewater, joining Somerset's Haley Myers and Maple Northwestern's Kiernan Smith. That group follows a beefy 2019 recruiting class in which the Warhawks added five freshmen to their 13-player roster.
"The ultimate goal is to make it on the top (five); however, I understand that there are many great golfers in the program and it will take a lot of hard work to obtain that goal," O'Hearn wrote. "Although being in the top five would be great, next year I want to focus on growing and gaining more experience out on the course and getting to know my teammates better. With Whitewater being a competitive and successful team, it is expected of them to continue performing at that high (level). As I grow as a player, the goal is to contribute to that success and hopefully help the team continue to work its way up the rankings."