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    TIM PEELER: Derrey, Women's Golf head to NCAA Central
     
     

    BY TIM PEELER

     

    RALEIGH, N.C. Stephanie Derrey won’t be in town this weekend for her NC State graduation, so she’ll have to settle for a mini family reunion instead.

     

    That’s okay with native of Paris, France: she has spent little time with her younger sister, Valentine, since coming to the United States to play for the Wolfpack women’s golf program. That’s been difficult for the once inseparable sisters, who are only a year apart in age.

     

    But, beginning today, they can spend time together at the NCAA Central Regional in Austin, Texas, with Stephanie representing the 13th-seeded Wolfpack and Valentine representing 11th-seeded Texas Christian. The top eight of the 21 teams will advance to the NCAA Champions in two weeks, along with the top two other individuals.

     

    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 Wake Forest, because the Horned Frogs have a morning tee time today and the Wolfpack has a morning tee time on Friday.  But the top 12 teams will get the early tee times on Saturday, and that’s what both Stephanie and Val are aiming for.

     

    “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 Albuquerque, N.M., May 20-23. Derrey, the lone senior on the Wolfpack roster, has high hopes that her team can change that this year.

     

    “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 Daytona Beach, Fla., but only to watch Valentine play. TCU finished third in last year’s Central Regional and is looking to advance to the final round.

     

    “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 Argentina and then moving back to their native Paris.

     

    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 Paris, look for an internship in the finance industry for the fall and spend the summer playing for her home-course team in French amateur golf tournaments. She has no plans to turn professional, but does intend to extend her academic career by going to graduate school in France.

     

    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 tim_peeler@ncsu.edu.

     


     

     

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