For Sophia Dooman, choosing a college where she could also continue her golf career was all about chemistry.
Well, that and biochemistry. That's the academic path the Janesville Parker senior hopes to follow en route to becoming a general surgeon or pediatrician.
The University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota, offered her exactly what she wanted. Dooman announced last week that she would attend the NCAA Division III school after exploring opportunities at a number of schools, including Division I Loyola (Ill.), Division III St. Catherine's (Minn.) and NAIA Viterbo University in La Crosse.
Dooman was a two-time WIAA Division 1 state qualifier, finishing 32nd as a junior after rounds of 89 and 85 and 14th as a senior on rounds of 83 and 80. She also finished fourth last summer at the College Showcase, tied for 12th at the Sherri Steinhauer Invitational, tied for 13th at the WPGA Junior Championship and tied for 16th at the Morgan Stanley Tour Championship.
"I toured the (St. Thomas) campus and really loved it there," Dooman wrote an in email interview with Wisconsin.Golf. "I met with Coach (Sara) Evens that day and was really impressed with everything I saw. ... I thought St. Thomas would be the right choice for me because I like the campus, the area has great connections for job opportunities (and) I loved that I was in a bigger city with lots to do."
And then there was the chemistry. And, or course, the biochemistry. And the promising future that comes with both.
Dooman was one of two Wisconsin recruits to commit to the Tommies last week, joining Kirsten Leonardi of Sussex Hamilton. That comes on the heels of St. Thomas bringing in three Wisconsin recruits in its 2018 class — including 2017 Big Eight Conference champion Courtney Shorter of Verona, who has worked with Dooman at Blackhawk Country Club in Madison and came up with her in Derek Schnarr's junior golf program.
"Courtney did play some part in my decision," Dooman wrote. "I think it’ll be really fun to play with her and she gave me a lot of insight about the school and program."
And Dooman said she is ready to roll up her sleeves and help St. Thomas close what has become a significant gap between the Tommies and Division III power Carleton in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletics Conference.
After being upset by St. Catherine's at the 2016 MIAC Championship, Carleton scored a 19-stroke victory at the 2017 championship and, this past fall, rolled to a 66-stroke victory over the College of St. Benedict. St. Thomas, which won the most recent of its five MIAC Championships in 2016, finished third in 2017 and eighth last fall, 167 strokes behind Carleton in the 54-hole tournament.
"I’m very excited to close the gap between St. Thomas and Carleton and to start competing," Dooman wrote. "I see myself really contributing to the program and upholding the values of it. I’ll continue to put forth my best effort and determination as I have throughout my high school career."