SAINT LEO, Fla. – In another first for the Saint Leo women’s golf team, and as a nice way to wrap up the program’s most memorable season, both Anna Riss and Jordan Hatch earned National Golf Coaches Association Awards as it was announced by the NGCA over the weekend.
Riss, finishing up her senior season, was the only four-year member of the Lions squad in 2010. The individual winner of the Flagler Fall Slam, Riss propelled her team to the top-spot in the tournament during the fall. For the year, Riss added two top-5 finishes and five top-10 results in her final season in the Green & Gold.
The Frankfurt, Germany native finished her Saint Leo career holding nearly every individual record in the program’s short history. Holding the program’s lowest scoring average in a single season at 77.04, her experience and superb play also led the Lions to the program’s first three tournament victories and, more recently, the highest-ever finish in the conference tournament and a bid to the NCAA Postseason Regional Tournament where Saint Leo placed sixth.
In addition to her All-America honor, Riss was also one of ten student-athletes named to the 2010 All-Sunshine State Conference Women's Golf Team.
Riss’s All-America honor wasn't the only recognition the SLU Women's Golf team would bring home, first-year teammate Jordan Hatch was the NGCA Kim Moore Spirit Award winner for all of Division II.
Dedicated to University of Indianapolis golfer Kim Moore, the purpose of the award is to recognize and honor a student-athlete or coach who exemplifies a great spirit toward the game of golf, a positive attitude on and off the golf course, a role model for her team and mental toughness in facing challenges.
A necessary part of nomination, Head Coach Erika Brennan was required to compose a highly detailed evaluation as to why the South Beloit, Ill. native was worthy of the Spirit Award over all other golfers in Division II.
In a small portion of her essay to the NGCA Brennan said, “This student-athlete is completely selfless and consistently puts the other members of our team first. In the middle of the night, she received a phone call from a distressed teammate who was having trouble breathing and immediately rushed to her dorm to help her out. While she was recovering from an injury and was unable to travel to our final fall event, she still got up early to pump up the girls who were traveling by being at the van to see the team off. She was also there to see the van return; even in the pouring rain, there she stood with a huge smile, applauding and cheering the girls back onto campus.
Furthermore, due to a previous tumor on her knee, Jordan plays through pain in almost every round. Clad with a “bionic” knee held together by two plates, a few rods, and several screws, she could easily complain. She however, does not, and is in fact critical of teammates when they complain. In and out of the athletic training room all year, Jordan always wears a smile on her face and pushes through the pain. She once said, “I would crawl the final holes if I needed too before I would ever withdraw.” It is that type of fierce determination that sets Jordan apart from others.”
Seeing her as the best candidate, the NGCA recognized Hatch, along with Riss, at the recent NGCA Division II Awards Banquet held in Mesa, Arizona.