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Blue Raiders look to build on momentum

Squad coming off highest finish in SBC

September 17, 2006 · MT Media Relations
Discussions regarding the current version of the Middle Tennessee women's golf team generally begin and end with junior standout Taryn Durham, and with good reason.

The Glasgow, Ky., native became the first Middle Tennessee golfer - male or female - ever to win low medalist honors at the Sun Belt Conference Championships when she accomplished the feat in May, 2006. She closed her sophomore campaign with nine straight Top 10 finishes, including three in the Top 3.

"Taryn has really surprised me," Short said. "She was a great junior player but she's an even better college player. She's a great competitor and that is what has impressed me the most. She never gives up."

As good as Durham is, there is no way Middle Tennessee would have achieved its highest finish as a member of the Sun Belt Conference when it turned in a third-place finish at the 2006 championships. That accomplishment required the combined effort of the Blue Raiders' talented squad, and the team delivered.

Durham prefers to talk about the team accomplishment of turning in its highest finish yet at a conference championship than her individual success.

"Taryn wants the same result for the team more than anything," Short said. "It was great that she won individual medalist honors at conference, but she wants the team to make (NCAA) Regionals. She is very humble and very motivated. She wants to win a conference championship as a team and go to the Regionals as a team. Her willingness to win and be a leader is a strong quality. She wants to get it done for the team and that's her greatest attribute."

Middle Tennessee's talented squad returns virtually intact for the 2006-07 season. Joining Durham is senior Maggie McGill, a fixture for the past three years, junior Jamey Dillard, and sophomores Mallory Bishop and Leigh Wilkins. Newcomers Tasha Gough and Clara Leathers, each of whom hails from Aylesbury, England, are anticipated impact players for Short's Blue Raiders.

"I'm looking for a lot from this team this year," Short said. "We are playing tough tournaments and I want to place well in these tournaments. I'm looking for some other girls to step up to the plate. Overall we really are still a young team with one senior. It's a young team with a lot of playing experience and they are ready to go."

Middle Tennessee opens the fall season at the Napa River Grill Cardinal Cup in Louisville, Ky., Monday for the first of four fall tournaments.

It is another opportunity for Durham and McGill to play in their homestate. McGill, a native of Bowling Green, Ky., has been a steady contributor during her career and Short is expecting her to take on an even greater role in her senior season.

"Maggie is a senior and she has to be our leader this year," Short said. "She is a scrappy player and wonderful golfer. I'm looking forward to big things from her because she has improved each year she has been here."

After opening the fall in Louisville, Middle Tennessee also plays in tournaments at Myrtle Beach, S.C., Fort Myers, Fla., and Southern Pines, N.C.

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