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ISSUE 116 VOL 2 PUBLISHED 9/20/2002

Finger lends hand as women's golf coach

By Molly McGraw
Contributing Writer

Friday, September 20, 2002

Le Ann Finger, the St. Olaf women’s golf coach, is familiar with the rubber band effect the school tends to have on its alumni. Finger graduated from St. Olaf with a speech-communication and education degree in 1985. She then took over a teaching position in the Apple Valley school system where she had the opportunity to work with middle and high school students. She also worked for Lutheran Brotherhood for ten years from 1987 to 1997. In spite of her busy life, Finger managed to return to St. Olaf in both 1986 and 1989 for one-year stints as the Ole women’s golf coach. Most recently, she took over the program in the spring of 2000, and is now in the midst of her fifth year of coaching Oles. In addition to her work with the team, Le Ann is an assistant pro at Northfield Golf Club and has been the Sports Information Director for St. Olaf since last February. “Coming back to St. Olaf was a no-brainer for me,” said Finger, “it fit with my life and it was a time when the team needed direction. I’m glad I can be here.” Finger began her own golf career when she was 12 years old. She continued to play through high school, and played all four years at St. Olaf. She finished off her last season as the team’s captain. When she’s not on the course coaching or enjoying a round, Finger loves to spend time with her husband and their two children. “I love sports in general,” said Finger. Football and basketball are two family favorites, and she even admits to being a closet NASCAR fan. Her plan for building a strong women’s golf program includes putting academics and proper form first, as well as developing score consistency. “Right now we have a good mix with lots of bright and talented kids,” said Finger. Of the nine teams in the MIAC conference, St. Olaf tends to rank in the middle third. “Our goals for this year are to either stay in that middle third, or move up,” said Finger, who echoed her statements found on the St. Olaf women’s golf homepage. “We are confident we can compete with the top schools in the conference. We've added more depth to our schedule this fall so we are in good shape,” she said. She hopes to achieve these goals by recruiting heavily from incoming classes while strengthening the abilities of those already on the team. “Golf is a skill sport,” said Finger, “we have to find players who have already acquired that skill.” Finger’s team played in two invitational meets September 14th and 15th at Waseca Lakeside. They placed 7th out of 9 teams on the first day of competition and 6th out of 9 teams the second day. She looks forward to strong performances from veteran players Abby Sprenger ’04, Naomi Schwegler ’04, and captain Heather Mattson ’03. Their next meet will be held at Luther College in Decorah, IA on Sept. 22 followed closely by the St. Olaf invitational on Sept. 25th. “We’ve always done well at Luther. We’re looking to finish with the top teams,” said Schwegler. “Overall, we are continuing to improve and will keep improving until conference,” she said. The women hope fan support at their only home meet next Wednesday will encourage their success. The women’s abbreviated season culminates Oct. 5-6 when they compete at The Fairways in St. Cloud. The women can realistically expect to finish in the top five of the conference.

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