Student-athlete. It is a two-part term that sometimes loses its meaning between daily practices and big time tournaments. However, for one golfer on the MU Women’s Golf Team, the term encompasses far more meaning than the two words can convey.
Senior golfer Madison Marcolla brings intensity to the course as well as the classroom and community. In January this drive was rewarded, Marcolla was named one of 25 semifinalists for the Wooden Citizenship Cup. The award named for John Wooden, one of the most successful coaches in collegiate history, is given to the most outstanding role models among athletes from all conferences in the NCAA.
“John Wooden is a legend in the sports world and to be recognized not only as an athlete, but as a role model is definitely the most rewarding honor,” Marcolla said.
An honor Marcolla has earned. Last year, looking to get more involved with the Columbia community that continuously supports MU athletic teams, Marcolla to set up community service projects for her and her teammates.
“She was the initiator for the relationship between our team and Marineparents.com, one that has lasted for two years and I'm sure will continue into the future,” teammate Michelle Morgan said.
Marine Parents, a local organization, had the girls sort care packages for deployed Marines. After doing service there as well as a few other places, Marcolla helped push the team toward a bigger goal. The team organized the first ever Missouri Women's 'Golf Birdies for the Cure' fundraiser. Donors could pledge a flat fee or pledge a chosen amount of dollars per every birdie made by the team. The monetary goal of $3,000 was not only met, but far surpassed.
“At the end of October I am proud to say we presented the Susan G. Komen of Mid-Missouri with a check for $6,650. The fundraiser was highly successful and as a senior, I had an integral role in coordinating the event,” Marcolla said.
The time spent helping others, also helped the team. A result that Morgan calls win-win, helping with both team communication and motivation.
“I think what we do off the course helps us to build stronger bonds amongst ourselves. We get to spend time together, doing things for other people that make both them and us happy. When we can work together to achieve things like that off the course, it helps our unity on the course,” Morgan said.
If the team is lucky, their strengthened bonds will translate into a successful spring season.
“Spring golf is fast and furious,” Marcolla said.
Braving cold weather, the team will head to Florida on February 19 to start the season.
Overall Marcolla’s nomination for the Wooden Citizenship Cup has brought attention to not only her accomplishments as a golfer, student and community citizen, but also to the admirable actions of the entire MU Women’s Golf Team.
“The University of Missouri has given me the greatest opportunities to grow academically, athletically and as a person,” Marcolla said. “My days left as a college athlete are ending soon, but my days as a role model are hopefully just beginning.”