Courtesy of Jacquie LeMarr
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. - Senior Kaitlen Parsons looks forward to playing her last season for the Lumberjacks. From a Big Sky Championship to a top-five individual finish, NAU women's golfer Kaitlen Parsons has seen it all. The Washington native has taken a step back to reflect on her past four years in Flagstaff and share her goals for the future.
Coming from a small golf scene, Parsons spent her last year of high school attending community college so she could spend her days preparing on the course. She wanted to make the transition into the rigors of college golf easier. Parsons decided to stay on the west coast and attend NAU because she wanted the privilege of playing golf year-round.
Her choice to attend NAU transformed her game drastically and taught her the values of a hard working Lumberjack.
"I learned the value of a bogey and thought of the end result for our team before making a decision," said Parsons.
Parsons says that along with finding independence in her game, she also found it in her daily life.
"I learned to live on my own and be independent in adapting to college life," Parsons said. "I began to grow as a person and that also came out in my game."
Parsons says that she in turn has learned the value of playing for a team and the success that can be accomplished when a team comes together. Her most memorable team moment was the Lumberjack victory at Ocotillo for the Big Sky Conference Championship. There, Parsons' lessons of working on her individual game and team unity came together when she also took the second place individual title at conference.
"The team had worked so hard and wanted the win so bad," said Parsons. "It was amazing to celebrate our accomplishment and hard work throughout the year together."
Knowing that she will graduate in three months, this confidence has been a big part of her life. Her season goals include defending the conference title and claiming another memorable tournament finish. Her biggest individual goals however, include leading by example.
She reflects on her time as a freshman and how the seniors taught her how fast her remaining months will pass. She hopes to stop this trend of rushing through a senior season without taking the time to focus on the team. She wants to be able to use her last months to teach younger players how to be a role model. She wants the girls to find strength in their game and themselves.
"I want to be that role model for the younger girls and help them figure out how to mature their game and become a better person," said Parsons.
Parsons hopes to keep these values of confidence and teamwork within the Lumberjack golf family. Along with building her legacy, Parsons will focus on graduating in May with a degree in finance and marketing. She plans to go back to Washington and continue her job as a caddie at the Coeur d' Alene Resort Golf course.
Parsons's presence has greatly contributed to the golf team's success and her talents will be truly missed when she leaves the green at Ocotillo as a Lumberjack for the last time.