There is a new era beginning this fall in Winona (Minn.) State women’s golf and Savanna Anderson can’t wait to be a part of it as soon as she graduates Stanley-Boyd in 2018.
Anderson became the first recruit to publicly announce her intention to attend the NCAA Division II school since Julie Hennessy resigned as coach in May after a six-year run and Warriors athletic director Eric Schoh named Xenia Straight to succeed her. Straight is the wife of Winona State men’s golf Jeff Straight and, according to a news release, served as a volunteer assistant with her husband’s program the last two seasons.
The release said Xenia Straight, who escaped civil war in her native El Salvador when she was 17, spent nearly 20 years in the airline service industry and has owned other businesses. It said she grew up playing soccer, “but has since fallen in love with the game of golf.”
That was good enough for Anderson, who had high praise for the Warriors new coach.
“I (didn’t) know the previous coach,” Anderson wrote in an email interview with Wisconsin.Golf. “But Coach Xenia is amazing. She is so nice and such a wonderful person.”
Anderson, a three-time WIAA Division 2 sectional qualifier, is one of three golfers returning this fall for Stanley-Boyd off a team that missed out on a state berth by two shots at last year’s WIAA Division 2 Wisconsin Dells sectional. Anderson, who made it to state as a sophomore, will likely take over the No. 1 spot for the Orioles in place of the graduated Katie Kiraly, who is now at UW-Stout.
“I see myself fitting into the golf program at Winona really well,” Anderson wrote.
The Warriors are not expected to graduate anyone off their seven-player roster after the 2017- 18 season, but will lose three golfers the following year -- including Wisconsin natives Carly Clay of Tomah, Courtney Bergum of Holmen and Sidney Brunholzl of Black River Falls. Winona State’s only incoming recruit this fall is also a Wisconsin export, Stoughton’s Kelsey Taebel.
Anderson, who has two top-five finishes in four events on the WPGA Junior Tour this summer and was named Chippewa Valley Golf Association junior girls player of the year, also said Winona State met her needs as much financially as it did academically. The school participates in the reciprocity tuition program for Wisconsin students and provides all of its students with a free laptop computer as well as a free tablet device in majors that need them.
“I learned that you need to be patient with (what school) you pick,” Anderson wrote, when asked for advice on the recruiting process. “Just because you want to go Division I doesn’t mean that would be the right choice. … Make sure you know that you will fit in with the coaches and teammates. Have good chemistry and communication with them, because you will be spending most of your time with those people.”