North Idaho College golfer Arlee Coleman has high hopes for the women’s National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) National Championship at the Longbow Golf Course in Mesa, Ariz., May 13-16.
Coleman is a 19-year-old sophomore from Chewelah, Wash. She’s studying business communications and pursuing a career in medical sales.
She has been on top of her game this spring season and is hoping to play well at nationals.
Earlier this spring, Coleman shot rounds of 87, 86 and 87 to earn an eighth place finish at the College of Idaho Invitational at River Bend Golf Course in Wilder, Idaho. The women finished seventh with a three-round total of 1122.
The women battled through difficult conditions for all three rounds. The temperatures were in the 40s and the winds were gusting up to 40 mph.
North Idaho doesn’t always host the nicest weather for golfing, but that hasn’t stifled the NIC men’s or women’s teams, especially Coleman from doing well this year.
Coleman said she initially wasn’t planning on attending NIC.
“I was initially considering playing volleyball in Seattle, but my mother has Multiple Sclerosis so I really wanted to go somewhere much closer to home,” Coleman said. “I called (head coach Derrick Thompson) to ask if he had a spot on the women’s team. He ended up recruiting me and I signed, which was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made because I love it here in Coeur d’Alene. I love everything about NIC.”
Coleman said the biggest factor in deciding to attend NIC was that it’s only about an hour and a half away from her hometown.
“I’m so glad I did come to NIC because the town is excellent and you can’t find a better place to go to school,” Coleman said. “I’ve made many great friends and it has been fun to play at the Avondale Golf Course, one of the nicest courses in the Coeur d’Alene area. This is just the town you want to be in. I tell everyone to come here because it’s great.”
Coleman said she lived on the golf course her whole life. She said she was torn between playing softball and golf but her parents encouraged her to pursue golf. Coleman placed fourth at state her junior year of high school.
“My dad is a big golfer,” Coleman said. “He’s not very good but he’s been playing for a long time. My family and I were the second people to build a home upon the Chewelah golf course, so I’ve been playing ever since I was a little girl. My family and I lived right by the second green on the golf course.”
Coleman said she and her family would have family passes to the Chewelah golf course each year so she was fortunate to be able to play often.
“My younger brother, Carson, and I would always have rivalry games because he’s just a year younger than I am,” Coleman said. “I started beating my dad during my sophomore or junior year of high school and now when we play I beat him by about 15 strokes each round.”
Coleman said she’s received not only a lot of help from Thompson, but the NIC men’s golf team has really helped her improve her game.
Coleman is continuing on to the University of Northern Colorado next year. She verbally committed about two weeks ago. She said she hasn’t signed yet because head coach Brandon White of Northern Colorado and the university haven’t decided on an exact dollar amount to provide for her scholarship offer yet, but that she will most likely have a partial scholarship her junior year and a full-ride her senior year.
“I have a lot of family members who live in Colorado so that was a big part of my decision to commit to there,” Coleman said. “I had some serious mental problems with my golf game during my freshman year at NIC. I would sometimes just be crying on the golf course so I spent a lot of time this last summer working on my mental game and I kind of came around. This year I’ve had some much better scores with lower rounds and I think it’s just because my head game is much better and I’ve matured quite a bit in my game.”
Coleman said that she hopes she and her team play their best at nationals this year.
“Last year I didn’t play very well,” Coleman said. “I kind of choked and so hopefully this year I can finish well and earn myself a good spot. As a team, hopefully all of our girls can perform well and it’d be nice to be within the top 10 as a team.”