West Virginia Wesleyan's women's golf team has made a major move in the Mountain East Conference this season. With three freshmen in the top five, the team rolled to a record-setting runner-up finish in the Mountain East Conference under first-year head coach J.D. Lamm.
But it is one of the veterans that was one of the team's players during the season. Sophomore Sandra Brink, a native of Stockholm Sweden, put several sub-80 rounds on the scorecard during the Fall, and her play was a key to the team's success.
"Sandra has been impressive in that she was not been fully on her 'A' game in some of the tournaments she played, but she still found ways to get her rounds into the 70's," Lamm said. "She is figuring out that you don't need to hit the ball perfectly every time to shoot good scores."
Brink culminated her season with a tremendous finish at the MEC Championships. She placed second overall, the highest finish in school history. After an opening round of 88, she delivered a sterling final 36 holes, firing consecutive rounds of 77 to close the tournament.
"I really feel like this year's team showed a lot potential," Brink said. "It was a team with some talent, and we were very motivated to play at a high level. We showed some development along the way, and had a good season."
Brink started playing at a very young age back in Sweden. She comes from a family that is very involved in the sport, and was exposed to the game early on. She states that she started getting very serious about her own game around the age of 16.
"I was part of a very competitive club back in Sweden," Brink said. "We had some good players, and we were able to play in some highly competitive tournaments."
At 18, Brink set her sights on coming to the United States. She saw a unique opportunity to play golf at the next level, while also getting to pursue her academic goals. Plus, she has former teammates from her club that were already playing college golf in the U.S. in Florida and North Carolina.
Brink followed suit with other golfers from her club, and developed a relationship with a multi-sport recruiting agency to market her skills. She made a recruiting video and began her search for a school.
"The process for an international student-athlete is really quite extensive," Brink explained. "It is a long list of items you must deal with; the NCAA, school applictions, Visa applications, SAT, insurance...there is so much to do."
Eventually, Brink chose Wesleyan, and entered the United Stated last year under former head coach James Huber. As a freshman, Brink finished 10th in the Mountain East Championships, and went on to earn All-MEC Second Team honors.
"Coach Huber was patient and helpful, and helped me through the process of being in a new country," Brink said. "In Sweden, most people speak pretty good English, but I never worked at that hard growing up...it has gotten better since I have been here. People at Wesleyan are a lot more outgoing, and that has done a lot to help with the transition."
Brink noted that being in a small town is a major change from living in Stockholm, Sweden's capital city, and one that sports a population of over 940,000.
"When I am in season, you don't notice that you are in a small town because you are always playing and always busy," Brink said. "But when you are out of season, you start to realize that there is a little less to do than back in Stockholm."
Brink is majoring in Business Management, and hopes to be involved in something on the Business side of sports after Wesleyan. She states that it would be a dream to play professionally, but is simply looking to improve at this time and see how far the game of golf can take her.
At this point Lamm chimed in with the final word.
"If she makes it to the LPGA, I hope she remembers me and brings me along as her caddy," Lamm joked.