Stackhouse makes easy college adjustment

Special Photo
Former North Clayton High standout Mariah Stackhouse leads the Stanford golf team with a 71.7 stroke average.

Special Photo Former North Clayton High standout Mariah Stackhouse leads the Stanford golf team with a 71.7 stroke average.

Ever since Mariah Stackhouse has picked up a set of golf clubs, she has played at a high level.

It probably doesn’t come as a surprise that the Riverdale native is continuing to be a force on the collegiate level as a freshman.

This time last spring, the former North Clayton High standout was preparing to play in the Class AAAA meet near Augusta. Fast-forward a year, and she is the top golfer on the No. 11 Stanford team. Stanford is hosting the NCAA Div. I Women’s Golf West Regional at Stanford Golf Course.

Clayton News Daily sports editor Derrick Mahone recently spoke with the Stanford freshman about her success.

Question: How pleased are you with the way you have played so far?

Answer: “I’ve had a great freshman year so far, much better than I expected. Playing good golf and being able to be competitive in most of the events has made this experience a lot of fun.”

Q: What do you contribute to your early success on the collegiate level?

A: “I think the most contributing factor to the improvement of my game since I’ve come to college is being on a more consistent schedule and practicing with the highly skilled golfers on my team. We are all able to push and challenge one another, which makes practice much more beneficial.”

Q: What has been the hardest part about making the transition to the collegiate level?

A: “I think the hardest part is learning how to handle such a tight schedule. I often find myself really tired because much of the day is taken up with practice and workouts, and I have to make time for school while trying to get an adequate amount of sleep as well. That's a lot different than in high school, and I still find myself dealing with it now.”

Q: Given that you played on a high level pre-college, how much has that helped in making the transition?

A: “I think it helped having already been exposed to tough competition and long, challenging courses. I watched a lot of girls that I played junior golf with graduate to college golf and continue to play well, which showed me that it's possible to still be competitive at the college level even as a freshman.”

Q: What has winning those tournaments done for your confidence?

A: “On the college level, pretty much every girl in the field has the skill and ability to win, which makes it really tough. To have won two events my freshman year has given me a great amount of confidence in knowing that I can compete with these girls and win if the week goes in my favor.”

Q: Moving forward, what improvements will you like to see in your game?

A: “As the year continues, I'd like to see myself become a highly skilled short game player. I've learned how to give myself plenty of birdie opportunities as well as convert many of them. The next step is being able to consistently get up-and-down whenever I'm experiencing an off approach shot day.”