Gotcher finds home with MTSU

Gotcher finds home with MTSU

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Gotcher finds home with MTSU

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CLARKSVILLE, Tenn

With the knowledge she could play for almost any elite college golf program in the south, Samantha Gotcher had an envious, but difficult decision to make.

And with her senior year of golf heading into its final three weeks, making a decision now would take away the pressure of deciding at a time when Clarksville High was focused on repeating as district, region and Class AAA state champions.

For two years, Gotcher had made weekend trips to college programs equipped with facilities and technology that exclusive country clubs couldn’t touch.

Along the way, she made visits to Stetson University, Florida State, South Florida, North Carolina and almost the entire SEC.

Even with the possibility of playing for NCAA tournament teams with remarkable facilities, the idea of staying closer to family proved to be more valuable as one of the country’s top junior golfers made her final call.

Gotcher made a phone call to MTSU women’s golf coach Chris Adams to give her verbal commitment to the Blue Raiders. She will officially sign her paperwork during the November signing period.

Gotcher had narrowed her college options to Tennessee, UT Chattanooga, Stetson and MTSU, which had been on her list since Adams first started watching her two years ago. Gotcher played with Allie Knight, a sophomore on the MTSU team, when they played together in the Tennessee Women’s Amateur and her interest in the Blue Raiders program started then.

“I was impressed from that point, I never took them off the list,” Gotcher said. “I visited a lot bigger schools, and a lot more schools and they were not in Tennessee, but when it came down to it, I wanted to be closer to my family.

“It feels perfect and I feel very happy with my decision and I’m really excited.”

Gotcher was intrigued with the idea of being associated with a top-tier, nationally-ranked program, but she wanted to be more than a name on a roster.

“Alabama wasn’t always Alabama and I wanted to improve a program, and I wanted other girls to say I wanted to go there because Samantha Gotcher went there and have a positive impact,” Gotcher said.

Coming off a summer where she played in four USGA events that took her from the east coast to the west coast, Gotcher is accustomed to playing against the country’s elite amateur and college golfers. She will be part of a MTSU program that’s finished runner-up in the Sun Belt Conference tournament in each of the past three seasons. Denver has won the Sun Belt nine years straight.

Gotcher said Adams is building a MTSU program no longer content on runner-up finishes to Denver. The Blue Raiders are building a program capable of reaching the NCAA Championship, and a player with Gotcher’s skills and resume could be a difference.

“She was very excited and said, ‘horray’ over the phone,” said Gother, describing Adams’ reaction.

A discipline of the game, Gotcher is rarely not on a golf course, and believes it’s a sports where you either improve and get better or you don’t.

“I work hard, I work every single day,” Gotcher said.

Gotcher has been under the guidance of area swing coaches and pros since she started playing golf in elementary school, but also received inspiration and direction from CHS golf coach Vickie Moncrief and Spanish teacher, Danny Magrans.

“He influenced me and he was so selfless,” Gotcher said. “Every single day he would talk about how important family is and making time for others, and to be able to balance time between practice and family time. I am a lot better person than I was at this time last year.”

Part of that family time has been spent on golf courses where her dad, Mike Gotcher, has rarely missed one of her swings.

“He has been there for me after every bad shot and every good shot,” she said. “He never gives up on me and he’s been so positive.”

Gotcher’s love for golf has allowed her to avoid the burn out athletes sometimes face, and it’s that drive she hopes will lead to a berth on the Futures and LPGA Tour.

“I have talked to girls that are seniors (thinking about leaping to a pro tour) and they say you need to go someplace where you are going to play for four years,” Gotcher said. “You have to have that experience and I think I can do that. So many things have to fall into place and you have to keep that mentality. I really think I can do that. I like having the challenges like a hard golf course where that par was a tough one to earn.”

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