Two seniors, two juniors and a freshman lead WCU's charge for a third title
Three-round event gets underway on Monday morning
Seniors Mariah Hopkins and Kim Mitchell lead WCU into spring competition
Catamounts open the 2015-16 season this weekend in coastal Virginia
Nine seasonal events include four in fall, five in the spring
Hetzel, who according to available records is just the fifth different coach for WCU women's golf all-time, replaces retired head coach Steve Lott, who guided the program to a pair of Southern Conference championships and earned three league coach of the year honors during his 12-year tenure.
Under Hetzel's tutelage, four Catamounts have garnered All-Southern Conference honors including Malin Jansson and Josefine Sundh in 2011, Blaire Minter in 2012 and Kristin Swindell in 2014. Two Catamounts - Sofie Kvarnstrom in 2012 and Olivia Landino in 2014 - both collected SoCon All-Freshman team accolades. WCU has also earned five SoCon Golfer of the Week plaudits under Hetzel's watchful eye.
In the classroom, a combined 10 players have been recognized by the Women's Golf Coaches Association (WGCA) as All-American Scholars.
Continuing to play while coaching at WCU, Hetzel has won back-to-back Carolina's Golf Association (CGA) Carolinas Women's Match Play Championship titles in 2014 and 2015. She has seven career CGA tournament titles all-time.
During her collegiate playing career, Hetzel amassed eight, top 10 individual finishes for the Bulldog women's golf program including a career-best, individual medalist honor at the 2009 UNLV Invitational and a third-place finish at the 2009 SEC Championship. She twice garnered All-SEC and All-America honors by the NGCA and Golfweek following both her freshman and senior seasons. Hetzel was also a part of Georgia's 2006-07 SEC Championship squad.
Additionally, Hetzel competed in NCAA regional and national championship tournaments all four years, finishing tied for sixth as a team her freshman year, eighth as a sophomore with 10th and 15th-place national finishes her final two seasons.
Also while in Athens, Hetzel served as a camp counselor at the Chris Haack Golf Camp - directed by Georgia's men's head coach - and the Kelley Hester Golf Academy for Girls - organized by UGA's women's coach - during the summer of both 2007 and '08, where she worked directly with teaching campers fundamentals elements of golf.
A 2009 graduate of the University of Georgia's Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communications, Hetzel comes to Cullowhee with a strong golf background. Most recently, she has continued within the golf profession by working at the Cuscowilla Golf Club and Resort on Lake Oconee in Eatonton, Ga.
As an amateur, the Summerville, S.C., native was a four-time American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) Rolex Junior All-American, earning the honor in 2001, '02, '04 and again in 2005. During that same time frame, she managed to advance to match play in three U.S. Girls' Junior Championships and was named to the East Canon Cup Team twice. She was also twice dubbed the Beth Daniel Player of the Year (2003, '04) by the South Carolina Golf Association.
Upon her arrival in Athens, Ga., in 2005, Hetzel was ranked No. 7 in the Golfweek / Titleist Junior Girls' rankings.
Following her graduation, during a brief stint on the Duramed Futures Tour - a developmental tour for the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) - Hetzel posted a 74.20 stroke average on the highly competitive circuit, making the cut in five of her 10 career events during 2009. Her career-best professional finish came at the Alliance Bank Golf Classic in Syracuse, N.Y., in late July, 2009 where she finished tied for 45th.