Shoults claims All-American honors in debut season

By Brad Morris

Maddi Shoults entered her debut season at Ottawa University (Ariz.) wanting to earn the respect of her teammates and use her skill to claim the top position for the Spirit.

The Westfall alumnus did that and much more.

Shoults recently capped a banner freshman season by earning second-team All-American honors in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA).

“Entering the season, I wanted to work my way to the top position on the team and also gain experience from the seniors on the team and my coach who was on tour,” Shoults said. “I definitely accomplished these goals by working hard. I also listened and learned from girls on the team and my coach as well because I knew it would help me excel.”

Ottawa University (Ariz.) freshman Maddi Shoults capped a strong debut season by earning second-team All-American honors in the NAIA. Photos courtesy of Ottawa University (Ariz).

Shoults exceled on the links by earning co-freshman of the year honors in the Golden State Athletic Conference and finished in the top 20 of every event. She led the Spirit in scoring and ranked 12th nationally, according to Golfstat, with a 75.21 scoring average.

The right-hander won two invitationals and was among the top five in five other invitationals. She capped her season by finishing 19th at the NAIA Championships.

A two-time All-Ohioan on the high school links for the Mustangs, Shoults discussed making the transition to collegiate golf.

“College golf is definitely a lot more competitive, which was expected. I am happy that it is, because it pushes me to be better,” she said. “In college golf, there is a lot more travel around the country and higher expectations for practice and play.

“It is really fun to play a bunch of courses and learn new things at practice. I am also happy to be on a team that is competitive. Being so far from home has been hard, but I have a good support system in both Ohio and Arizona, so it’s nice.

Westfall alumnus Maddi Shoults ranked 12th nationally in the NAIA with a 75.21 scoring average.

Shoults described how she had to adjust to the heat and terrain in Arizona, but winning a pair of invitationals during the fall sparked her debut season in the desert.

“I started out the fall really well by winning a couple of invitationals,” she said. “I wasn’t sure how I would adapt to college golf, but it wasn’t as hard as I expected.

“Mentally, it was tough at first being out in the heat and playing on different grass and terrain. My first few rounds in Arizona weren’t the best. I got worried that I wouldn’t be able to adapt quickly, but I just had to trust what I can do. I know I am a good player and I’m mentally tough, so I just played how I know I could and it paid off.”

Shoults wanted to thank her coach and noted her excitement for next season, as the Spirit will be welcoming four freshmen to the roster.

“I was pleased with my first season and I want to thank my coach, Tina Barrett, for everything she has done so far. She is very wise and I’m glad to have her as a coach,” she said. “I’m excited for next year as we welcome four new freshmen.

“This summer, I’ll play in a couple amateur tournaments and continue to work on new shots and keep my game sharp.”

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