The honors came in full for women’s golf head coach Alyssa Waite who claimed coach of the year for the second time in the program’s history. Jasmine Leovao was awarded Big West Freshman of the Year and got an invitation to the NCAA postseason after her individual championship
Both Leovao and Waite consider these awards to come with an exciting and special feeling.
“It’s pretty cool being able to do big things individually and for the team as a freshman. I think that it’s really special to have such an impact and be able to secure a win at the end of the season,” Leovao said.
In her second season as head coach Waite took part in getting her team to obtain six top-three finishes, the most in school history. As well as placing her team in the top five in the team’s last nine tournaments.
After helping the program get in a good place, moving forward Waite says she is setting higher standards for herself and the team.
“We’re always gonna carry ourselves the best, I strive to have people in the industry tell us that we are the nicest team or we are the most fun team to be around,” Waite said.
Placing top 10 in each of her team’s last four tournaments on top of winning the individual championship at the Big West Championship, Leovao’s commitment to golf has come with sacrifices.
“A lot of people say that college athletes, you have three things you have to focus on and only two of them can work and it’s sports, academics, and social life. So I think I sacrifice my social life but I get enough from being with the team,” Leovao said.
In an environment where being fully committed plays a role, Waite has learned that finding a way to motivate her players is different for each one.
Waite knows that players like Leovao and her twin sister/teammate Janae Leovao find motivation by being playful and telling jokes.
There are other players with whom Waite is aware she has to have serious conversations so they can continue pushing themselves.
“Ultimately, if you’re light-hearted, and you keep a pretty mellow tone is how I function, then it’s going to help us a little bit better,” Waite said.
Leovao attributes her success to her self-awareness of things that need improvement, as well as getting a lot of help during practice on the greens from her twin sister Janae.
“Being able to always compete with her (Janae) during practice and playing, I think is really special and we get to push each other. So that’s a really cool relationship that I have with her,” Leovao said.
Pushing the team to more wins next year and becoming a Ladies Professional Golf Association star one day is what Leovao aspires for in the future. Waite looks forward to seeing where all this experience takes Leovao.