Jeff Kolpack, Published July 28 2009
A rare recruit
She can tell you about volleyball player Janet Cobbs, who later made the U.S. Olympic team. She can talk about track and field standout Laura Hermanson. She could talk all day about other great athletes.
But, back to the question?
“Gosh, I think she would be it,” Dorn said. “I just don’t know who else it would be.”
Anderson, from Oxbow, N.D., won the United States Girls’ Junior match play tournament on Saturday, a feat that puts her on par with some of the best-ever athletic accomplishments in North Dakota athletic history.
The tournament is open to girls 18 years old or younger, so it’s probably risky to say she’s the top incoming Division I recruit in the country. But she’s up there. Anderson defeated Kimberly Kim – the 2006 U.S. Women’s Amateur champion and a player who was playing in her fourth USGA amateur championship final – 6 and 5 in a title match that wasn’t very close.
Kim had all the notoriety, having LPGA Tour experience. Anderson has a silver trophy that takes two hands to hold up.
New Bison women’s coach Matt Johnson has timing on his side. Former head coach Lisa Schwinden did the recruiting work on Anderson before stepping down last month.
“This was all Lisa,” Johnson said. “The team that is there was all recruited by Lisa and I’m falling into a good situation with what’s there.”
Johnson is not wasting time with Anderson’s accomplishments and putting it to NDSU’s advantage. The hope is her title may help the Bison get into bigger-name tournaments and he plans on calling other coaches this week to look into it.
And certainly, it can only help in the recruiting trail with the following theory: if Anderson is going there, why not others?
“I know others have said it but she’s the Ben Woodside of women’s golf,” Johnson said. “She’s all of that.”
Woodside was the Bison men’s basketball guard who brought the program to NCAA Division I tournament standards. Before he signed, then head coach Tim Miles – as the story goes – put a set of keys on a table at the Woodside home in Albert Lea, Minn., and told him he can have the keys to the program.
Schwinden may not have given Anderson a set of keys, but she’s certainly in the driver’s seat.
Not many recruits have ever come to NDSU with her lofty credentials. The wrestling team has dabbled with high school All-Americans over the years including USA Wrestling national champion Ryan Lewis from Vernal, Utah., several years ago.
But Lewis won his weight class, not an entire tournament like Anderson did at Trump National Golf Course in Bedminster, N.J.
“We understand that a tournament doesn’t make a career,” Dorn said. “But she is really bringing visibility to the women’s golf program.”
She also brought visibility to herself. Once under the recruiting radar because she was home-schooled, every college coach in the country now knows about her. But Anderson signed a letter of intent with NDSU last November.
Anderson admitted over the weekend that other schools have contacted her. Johnson said he feels comfortable that Anderson is committed to NDSU and Dorn said the thought never crossed her mind until asked about it by a reporter.
Dorn cites Anderson’s family commitment – her brother, Nathan Anderson, also signed with NDSU at the same time. Plus, Dorn said NDSU is going to do its best to showcase what is shaping up to be a pretty good golf team.
“I think we understand the level of competitiveness and commitment that she expects,” she said.
Jeff Kolpack can be heard on the WDAY Golf Show, 10 a.m. to noon on WDAY-AM (970). He can be reached at (701) 241-5546.
Kolpack’s NDSU media blog can be found at www.areavoices.com/bisonmedia