By RICK PETERSON
Washburn University has announced the addition of its 17th intercollegiate sport with women's golf starting in the fall of 2024.
Washburn becomes the 12th member of the MIAA to field a women's golf team.
"Topeka and Shawnee County have a long history of success in high school golf and we're excited to provide another opportunity for local student-athletes to continue their education at Washburn and compete in a sport they love," said Loren Ferré, director of Washburn Athletics.
The addition of women's golf pushes the number of sports at Washburn to 17 and is the first new sport since men's and women's cross country and track and field were added in the fall of 2016.
"Adding a women's golf program has been on Washburn's radar for quite some time," said Dr. JuliAnn Mazachek, Washburn University president. "The popularity of women's golf, both on the high school and college levels, is growing quickly and Washburn is excited to add one more option for female student-athletes."
Ichabod men's head golf coach Ronnie McHenry said the addition of women's golf is another way to show how Washburn is a great opportunity for local talent to stay home and compete at a university and an athletic department that wants the best for student-athletes.
"The addition of a women's golf program is going to be great," McHenry said. "It will help more student-athletes follow their passion, keep the local talent at home and will be a great way for Washburn to build up our athletic alumni even more.
"Anytime you are able to add a program, it speaks highly of our school and our mission to grow. President Mazachek and our athletic department only want the best for our student-athletes. It's just another great day to be an Ichabod!"
With the addition of women's golf, Washburn now competes in the women's sports of soccer, volleyball, tennis, basketball, softball, indoor and outdoor track and field, cross country and golf.
On the men's side, Washburn competes in football, basketball, tennis, indoor and outdoor track and field, cross country, baseball and golf.