April 11, 2003
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - In her heart, Katie Quinney always knew she would be a Seminole.
Quinney took quite a roundabout route to reach her goal, but the junior member of the Florida State women's golf team is now a true Seminole. She is also playing the best golf of her collegiate career as the team prepares to play in the Atlantic Coast Conference Championship Starting April 18 in Clemmons, N.C.
"I have always wanted to come to Florida State and be a Seminole," said Quinney. "I looked at a number of schools - Alabama, South Florida and Miami among others - when I decided to transfer from Jacksonville University. Florida State was my final visit and I knew as soon as I got here this was the place for me."
Quinney transferred to Florida State to begin classes and competition as a member of the Seminole golf team in the fall of 2001. She earned her way into the starting five upon her arrival and has played in all 18 of the Seminoles' events since then. Her best individual finish of seventh place came as she helped lead Florida State to the team title at the Ryder/Florida Championship tournament in 2002. She carded her career-low round of 70 in finishing tied for ninth at this spring's Bryan National Collegiate.
Quinney's rather circuitous route to Florida State has taken her from the East Coast to the West Coast and back again. It has taken her from the tennis courts to the golf course where she earned varsity status in both sports in the seventh grade. It has also taken her to the heights of amateur golf as she has played in two U.S. Women's Amateur Opens.
All this from a player who didn't pick up a golf club until she was 13-years old and in the seventh grade.
"I'll never forget the day my dad gave me my first golf club," remembers Quinney. "It was Thanksgiving weekend when I was in seventh grade. He gave me one club and took me out to the course to see if I'd like the sport. I went out and started whacking the ball around the course. I took to the sport quickly and found myself having a good time playing it."
Quinney went to back to school after the holiday break and traded her tennis racquet and spot on the varsity tennis team for a set a golf clubs and a spot on the varsity golf team
"I had been playing tennis and I quit the team completely," said Quinney. "My teachers and coaches felt it was best for me to find another sport to play so I talked to the golf coach. I told him that I had never played before but he told me to come out and see how I liked the sport and the other members of the team. I ended up making the team and playing in the starting five right away. I was able to compete in matches when I was in seventh grade. That was fun and got me kick-started with the sport.
It certainly kick-started Quinney's golf career as she picked up the sport in November and was playing on the varsity team by January. With Quinney in the lineup, the team finished in third place in the state tournament her first season.
Quinney moved with her family to California, where they lived for just over four years, before returning to the Jacksonville, Fla., area for her senior year of high school. By then the schools on the East Coast she had interest in had by this time offered their scholarships to other players. And the schools she had interest in on the West Coast were now 3,000 miles away and no longer an option.
She turned her attention to Jacksonville University. At Jacksonville, she could pursue a top-notch liberal arts degree and compete immediately for a spot on the Dolphins' golf team.
She became one of the Dolphins' top players during the fall 2000 and spring 2001 seasons. She earned eight top-25 finishes and earned medalist honors twice during the spring season.
It was when Quinney and the Dolphins competed against Florida State in the Ryder/Florida Championship tournament that spring that the garnet and gold colors on the Seminole golf bags began tugging on her heart once again.
"In my heart, I was always a Seminole," said Quinney, whose parents both attended FSU. "I looked at the other schools and liked them but when I really looked at Florida State on my visit, I felt like I needed to be here."
"We had seen Katie play in numerous tournaments and had known about her since her senior year in high school," said Florida State head coach Debbie Dillman. "We liked the way she struck the ball and the distance she got off the tee. She had a great visit and all of the players on our team enjoyed her as a person. It has been a good fit four our program and Katie as an individual."
Quinney became a Seminole and came to campus in the fall of 2001 with more experience than the average transfer student-athlete. During the summer prior to her arrival in Tallahassee, she played in the U.S. Women's Amateur Women's Championship. She played in the event along with teammates Kristin Tamulis and Alison Curdt during the summer of 2002.
"Playing in the Amateur has really helped my confidence," said Quinney. "You know you are there with the best players in the country. When you look at the results you can feel good about your game and feel that you played well against and defeated some really good players."
Quinney has seen her confidence skyrocket and her scores drop since participating in her first Amateur. Quinney's scores have dropped nearly five strokes to her current per round average of 75.67 this season.
"I think the thought of staying in the moment is important and is the important thing I learned from playing against the best amateur players in the country," said Quinney. I am really working on playing one shot at a time and not getting ahead of myself. I tried to stay focused on one day at a time and one shot at a time."
The psychology major is as focused in the classroom as she is on the golf course. She was named to the FSU Director of Athletics and ACC Honor Rolls and helped the women's golf team won the Athletic Director's Cup for Service in 2002. The Director's Cup is awarded for the Seminole athletic team that donates the most time to performing community service.
"I think the hardest part of combining academics and athletics is trying to separate being in class and being at a tournament," said Quinney. "At a tournament, you almost have to forget you are a student and when you in class you almost have to forget you are a golfer."
Fortunately for Florida State, Quinney never forgot she always wanted to be a Seminole.
Chuck Walsh Sports Information Office