Skyhawks Hit the Links

College Adds First Sport in 20 Years

Nearly two years ago, an athletics task force of College trustees, faculty and staff first gathered in the Sally Blair Ames Sports Complex to review our athletic programs and broach a longstanding question: Should Stonehill expand its portfolio of varsity sports?

For six months, the group weighed its options, considering a number of challenges and opportunities such as the cost of creating and maintaining new programs, which sports would have the ability to sustain a competitive schedule against teams in the area and whether new programs would impact our ability to offer men and women equitable access to sports, as required by federal law Title IX.

The group came to a decision and this fall—for the first time in nearly 20 years—Ace the Skyhawk has a new team to cheer for: women’s golf.

“We felt there was opportunity at Stonehill for additional women student-athletes, and we gravitated quickly toward women’s golf, which has grown precipitously in the Northeast-10 in recent years,” says Dean O’Keefe ’94, director of athletics. “Golf is a team sport, but it is also an individual sport, so we knew that we could build it right rather than go from zero to sixty and grow too quickly.”

The College hired coach Nick Crovetti to spearhead the effort. Over five years at Merrimack College, Crovetti built a successful women’s golf team that won three NE10 championships, the only ones held since the conference expanded to include women’s golf in 2014-2015.

Crovetti believes the team, which will have three golfers this year and eventually grow to a roster of 10 or 12, will start strong.

“We have everything in place for this program to be really, really successful at the NE10 level and beyond,” says Crovetti. “This first year is important. We will compete, have fun and build experience as we set a foundation for the future.”

The team’s first members, Francesca Feola ’21, Katelyn Jylkka ’21 and Jennifer Kornacki ’20, will practice daily at Thorny Lea Golf Club in Brockton, which will serve as their home course. The three women have quickly taken to their role as founders and are confident and excited to compete with their peers regionally and nationally.

“It’s rare to get the opportunity to join a new golf program,” says Jylkka, a biology major. “It’s going to be fun this year being with a new team and growing women’s sports at Stonehill.”

Keep an eye out for updates on the women’s golf team this year, as they work to establish themselves as a force in the NE10 and beyond.
—Michael Shulansky