HUNTINGTON, Ind. Huntington University Director of Athletics Lori Culler has announced that the Foresters will increase its intercollegiate sports offerings to 17 with the addition of women's golf beginning in the fall of 2015.
"We are very excited to add women's golf to the growing number of athletic programs we offer at Huntington University," said Culler. "The addition makes sense given that the Crossroads League added women's golf as a conference sport in 2012 and that we believe there are many talented female golfers both locally and in surrounding states that will find HU a good fit academically and athletically."
Women's golf will the third sport added at Huntington in the past three years with men's and women's bowling competing in their inaugural seasons in 2012.
Pete Schownir will serve as the program's first head coach. Schownir brings plenty of coaching experience to the position having served as HU's men's golf coach from 2001-2006.
In his first year, the team's tournament stroke average improved by 18 shots. During his five-year stint as the men's skipper, Schownir coached five NAIA Academic All-Americans and was named the MCC Co-Coach of the Year in 2004.
Schownir, who has served on the board of the Indiana Golf Foundation for three years, will also put his playing experience to good use as he looks to build the program. In addition to winning five local amateur tournament titles, he has played in six Indiana Open and Amateur tournaments, six Indiana Senior Opens and one Indiana Senior Amateur,
"I am thrilled to be the first coach for women's golf at Huntington University," said Schownir, "I look forward to building a competitive program but will also encourage the young women that come through the program to enjoy a great game for their rest of their lives and pass it along."
Schownir has been hot on the recruiting trail and has already inked a blue chipper with the signing of New Palestine High School standout Abby Poole.
The New Palestine native is the program's first recruit for 2015 and Schownir couldn't be more excited to build his program around her.
"I am especially thrilled to have Abby Poole be our first recruit signing," said Schownir. "She personifies the qualities of a Huntington University student-athlete that I look for - a servant's heart, academic excellence, and a quality golf game played with the right perspective. She is a great centerpiece to build a program around."
With her senior year still to come, Poole has already amassed a laundry list of accomplishments. The three-time All-County and All-Conference honoree has also been deemed her team's MVP the past three seasons.
Poole stormed through her junior season by claiming medalist honors in 11 of her 14 regular season matches and topped off the year by repeating as the sectionals medalist. Poole also earned her second All-County medalist title last year by shooting a one-under-par 35, a new school record.
When not playing for the Dragons, Poole has been active in various tours which include the Mountain Dew Junior Tour where she has racked up three championships and five other top four finishes over the past two years.
"I chose Huntington University because I wanted a Christian education and opportunity to participate as a student athlete in a sport I love golf," said Poole. "Huntington University will challenge me to be the best student, athlete and represent Christ on and off the course. I look forward to leaving footsteps worth following as the first signee of the women's golf program and HU."
Abby is the daughter of Wayne and Dee Dee Poole of New Palestine, Ind.