June 20, 2012

Big 12 a 'natural fit' for TCU women's golf, coach says

Move will build excitement, coach Angie Ravaioli-Larkin says.

When Angie Ravaioli-Larkin arrived at TCU in 1994, the Horned Frogs competed against area rivals in the Southwest Conference.

After leading the TCU women's golf team through transitions into the Western Athletic Conference, Conference USA and Mountain West, she is ready to take the Frogs home.

"I think it's a positive move all the way around. With the media attention, seats will be filled out," Ravaioli-Larkin said. "We've come full circle. People who were around in the Southwest Conference days remember those glory days and the rivalries. This move will build excitement, which in turn will create a lot of energy."

Ravaioli-Larkin played in the Southwest Conference as well.

"It's going to be fun," said Ravaioli-Larkin, who was a standout for SMU and has competed professionally. "It's a natural fit playing teams in Texas and Oklahoma."

The main difference next year for the women's golf team will be the Big 12 tournament, where the Frogs will face talented squads like Oklahoma and Texas.

"The conference tournament is going to be a little bit different. It's going to be a little tougher, but I think we can do it," TCU golfer April McCoy said. "It will be good for all of us to see how we compare against better teams."

McCoy, a sophomore and Carrollton Creekview graduate, was recruited by Baylor and Oklahoma State. Now she will compete against those schools.

"I love it. It's definitely good to play against teams that are close to us," McCoy said.

TCU won the MWC tournament last year, its second straight championship, a first in the program's history. McCoy and fellow sophomore Alexandra Bonetti had strong seasons. Sanna Nuutinen, who will be a junior, was the overall Mountain West champion.

"This year, we focused on paying attention to the details every day," Ravaioli-Larkin said. "I don't think there is a lot of difference, in golf, between No. 10 in the country and No. 20. But we are trying to keep improving to get our program back in that top 10 position."

But the Frogs will have to work even harder to secure a third straight conference title.

"The depth of each team, and the number of teams both increase in the Big 12," Ravaioli-Larkin said.

"There are more teams that can compete for championships each year. What it takes to win a championship won't change. You have to play well that week."

Brent Shirley, 817-390-7760

Twitter: @bshirley08

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