By David Fong
TROY — Carrigan Browning figured her chances of playing college golf were between a rock and a hard place.
Browning was in the middle of a fine senior season on the Troy girls golf team — she had the best average on her team — when a freak injury cost her essentially the second half of her senior year.
Last fall, during one of the almost-daily rounds Browning plays when weather permits, her golf club face came down on a rock hidden just under the ground, bringing her swing to a sudden halt — along with most of her season. She tore tendons in her right hand, forcing her wrist to be immobilized in a cast for three weeks while it healed.
“It was devastating,” Browning said. “I was just thinking about all the hard work I had put in.”
Browning was worried her injury might scare off college recruiters who wouldn’t get the chance to see her put in an entire senior campaign. Much to her relief, however, Defiance College still was interested in having her come golf there. Recently, Browning signed her national letter of intent to attend school and play golf at Defiance. Perhaps fittingly given her circumstances, Browning said she plans to study athletic training in college.
“It’s like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders,” Browning said. “I got an email from Defiance and a few weeks later I went up for a visit. I liked the small-knit community. It’s an 11-1 teacher to student ratio, which I liked. It’s really exciting.”
Browning led the Trojans with a 50.4 average per nine holes this season. As a junior, she averaged 54.5 per round. As a sophomore, she averaged 64.3 per round. She earned All-Greater Western Ohio Conference American North Division special mention honors as a junior, but was unable to compete in the GWOC Postseason Tournament as a senior because of her injury, costing her a chance at all-conference honors.
“She was not able to cap off her senior season the way she wanted to, so I’m happy she’s getting this chance,” Troy girls golf coach Matt Wibbeler said. “She’s got the determination. I know she’s going to put in as much work as possible.”
Browning becoming a college golfer is all the more impressive considering she didn’t seriously start playing the sport until her sophomore year in high school.
“I had always been a soccer player,” she said. “When soccer didn’t work out the way I wanted, I started playing golf. It was crazy the way things worked out; I excelled really fast and got to play some varsity matches my sophomore year. I play every chance I get now.”
Contact David Fong at firstname.lastname@example.org; follow him on Twitter @thefong