HARTINGTON - Russ Hochstein, Craig Wortmann, Shane Kuchta, Stephen Hillis and now Cassidy Ulrich.
Only five Cedar Catholic athletes have ever competed athletically at the Division I level, with Ulrich becoming the first female Trojan to achieve the feat.
When the recent Cedar graduate walked across the stage to receive her diploma though in May, she was going to play Division II golf for University of Nebraska-Kearney. That was until recently at the amateur golf championships in York, Nebraska where she was noticed by a coach that last year decided not to recruit her after the summer tournaments were through. A lot can change in eight months though.
Ulrich was noticed by University of Nebraska-Omaha head coach Seth Porter during the match play tournament, and he was impressed enough that he gave her an offer that day.
“He was there watching other kids and it just so happened he remembered me because I had been in contact with him the past few years, and he saw me and I was playing really well on Monday,” said Ulrich. “He watched me hit a lot of good shots and it ended up I qualified for Tuesday, and he watched me there where I lost my match but I played pretty decent.”
Ulrich was fortunate to still be able to decommit from UNK, in part because she did not sign a scholarship offer but rather as a preferred walk on.
“When I signed to Kearney I didn’t sign a National Letter of Intent,” said Ulrich. “I signed a preferred walk-on spot so I actually did have a way out of Kearney, which worked in my favor.”
This allowed her to still switch schools with out violating the terms of a Letter of Intent. For the recent graduate, the unforeseen turn of events was an amazing opportunity but still an immensely difficult decision.
“It’s a little hectic. This all happened within a week. Something that a week ago Monday I didn’t think was on the table at all, but when they came through with an offer I couldn’t say no to the school, the athletics, where they travel, and everything that comes along with it. “
Ulrich noted that it was still a very hard decision in part because of how much she was preparing to go play at UNK this summer. She already had a roommate and started buying things for her dorm, she had met the team, and she had already set goals for what she wanted to accomplish as a freshman. Ulrich now will ante up as she prepares for D-I competition that will compete in both the fall and the spring.
“It’s definitely going to be a lot more intense,” said Ulrich. “I know that my workout schedules and conditioning will step it up a lot. I don’t want to go there and be behind everyone. I want to go and try to make the travel team.”
Ulrich spent the last week discussing the opportunity with her family, and she says it was very difficult to not spread the word before making her final decision on Monday.
“It was hard not to tell everyone that I’m going to my dream school and going to play D-I golf, but now it’s nice to get everything how it’s supposed to be and how I’ve always wanted it to be. It pays to be patient.”
Patience is a virtue that can translate directly to golf, and Ulrich’s story is an example of how it is never to late for a dream to come to fruition. Throughout Monday’s interview, there were numerous times that she smiled from cheek to cheek as she added one final sentence to her answers.
“I get to golf and it’s at my dream school,” said Ulrich with a big smile.