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Women’s spring preview: Colonial Athletic Association

Maggie Will has had the reins of the Richmond women’s program for less than a year, but already she knows she has found the place she belongs. That realization hit after a series of events that were both record-breaking and mind-blowing.

Richmond won its second team title in program history at the Wendy’s Invitational on Oct. 16, and proved just how much potential it had in the process. It was the second start under Will’s direction.

“It was just so much fun to see them achieve something that they hadn’t achieved prior, and to see the disappointment that I saw in the beginning, in our first month, vanish,” Will said. “They started laughing and having fun and really feeding off each other’s success.”

Senior Tracy Martin won the individual title, becoming just the second player in program history to win in a full-field event.

Richmond’s program has been left empty-handed during two of the past four summers, but Will seems to be a good fit. Credit part of the success at Wendy’s to a handy yardage book Will had leftover from her LPGA playing days. Rivertowne Country Club in Charleston, S.C., is a former tour stop.

Aside from the golf course memories, what Will remembers most about the Wendy’s victory is negotiating control of the radio on the van-ride home. She had promised her players they could listen to country if they won. That only lasted until one team member figured out the presidential debates were being broadcast that night. That’s when headphones came out immediately, and the entire van perked up to listen.

“I thought to myself, ‘Only at Richmond,’” Will remembers. “I knew that I was at the place where I needed to be. I like the fact that my kids like to have fun, they like to do things, yet they keep it all in perspective.”

The next item on Richmond’s checklist is a postseason berth, which could likely only come courtesy of a conference championship victory. It would be another program first. The good news is Will, a former assistant coach at North Carolina-Wilmington, has a detailed yardage book from that venue, too. The conference championship will be played at St. James Plantation in Wilmington, N.C. Will was around for UNCW’s conference title at that course a year ago, and now she could lead her own team to one. The layout, she says, fits the team dynamic. There are birdie holes, and also a lot of holes that require thinking and strategy.

“You just have to have your wits about you on that type of golf course.”

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Where it stands now

Top of the class: North Carolina-Wilmington

Best player in the fall: Lori Beth Adams, North Carolina-Wilmington

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Past champions

2008: North Carolina-Wilmington

2009: Georgia State

2010: Georgia State

2011: North Carolina-Wilmington

2012: North Carolina-Wilmington

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Conference capsules

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