TIM PEELER: Derrey, Women's Golf head to NCAA Central
BY TIM PEELER
That’s okay with native of
But, beginning today, they can spend time together at the NCAA Central Regional in
Stephanie has been a consistent performer this season for Page Marsh’s Wolfpack women. She’s second on the team with a 75.8 stroke average, with four top 20 finishes. Her best performance of the season was at the UNCW Lady Seahawk Classic at River Landing Country Club, where she tied for fourth in helping the Wolfpack win its seventh tournament in the program’s history.
Valentine is coming off an excellent sophomore season in which she was named the Mountain West Conference Co-Player of the Year. She has posted her team’s lowest score in seven of nine tournaments and has finished in the top 10 four times. She was second last weekend at the Mountain West Conference Championship.
But it is unlikely that they will be paired together on the course, as they were earlier this year at
“That’s okay with both of us,” Stephanie Derrey said. “We have never really played against each other. It was never a competition. We always want the other to do well. If she wins, I am going to be very happy for her and vice versa. We are not trying to kill each other.”
This is the Wolfpack’s seventh consecutive NCAA Regional, but Marsh and her team have yet to advance to the NCAA Championship, which will be held this year in
“I think it is the best team we have had since I have been here,” Stephanie Derrey said. “I think we were lucky to be sent to Central. It is a hard golf course, which is good for us, because we make a lot of pars but not a lot of birdies. It was a good choice by the NCAA Selection Committee for us.”
Derrey made it to last year’s NCAA Championship in
“Going to see her last year, being there for the championship, really made me want to get there this year,” Stephanie said.
Valentine likely wouldn’t have come to the States to play collegiate golf if Stephanie hadn’t preceded her. Neither spoke much English, though they were both fluent in French and Spanish, thanks to growing up in
But Stephanie thrived while playing golf and studying for her degree in Business and Finance, proving to her parents that it was a great opportunity. Valentine spent her final year of high school here and was recruited to play for TCU. She never strongly considered joining Stephanie at NC State.
“We have lived together our whole lives, going to golf tournaments and all those things,” Stephanie Derrey said. “We went to golf tournaments together and really felt like it was good to go our own paths for at least four years, to experience being apart. I am happy that she is able to do things on her own, because sometimes she would rely on me a little bit, because I am older.”
Stephanie has matured into a consistent contributor for the Wolfpack, after finally getting the mental part of her game in control. As a freshman, she was benched for being too stubborn and too emotional on the course. After working with the team’s sports psychologist, Derrey found a way to get her temper under control.
“Sometimes, you need to get a little upset, but you can’t play that way all the time,” she said. “I have set up kind of a time-line for it. I can be upset with myself for 15 seconds, then I have to move on. Otherwise it will affect me the rest of the round.”
Her strategy seems to have worked. Her game has steadily improved every season.
“I think my swing got better and more consistent,” she said. “I hit the ball further. My short game improved a lot. I have matured a lot on the course. I am definitely like another player. I wish I was just beginning my freshmen year.”
But she knows that her collegiate golf career and her academic career are coming to an end.
“I feel like it was yesterday that I was moving in on campus,” she said. “It goes really fast. I am actually really, really, really sad and I am trying not think about it.”
But she has a career plan, even if she won’t get to walk across the stage to receive her degree with the rest of NC State’s spring graduates on Saturday. She’ll move all her stuff back home to
She doesn’t consider her move home permanent.
“I really, really love it here,” Derrey said. “If I have the opportunity to get a job here, that would be great.”
You may contact Tim Peeler at email@example.com.