Women's Golf
Chip Shots with Raquel Hopton

Senior Raquel Hopton
Senior Raquel Hopton

March 31, 2011

Hey Illini fans! This is a special Spring Break edition of Chip Shots and also the last Chip Shots I will write of my Illini career!

Well we are back at work after a great Spring Break. This year we traveled to St. George, Utah to compete in the BYU tournament at Entrada. Personally, I have never seen a more beautiful place than Entrada. Standing at the clubhouse, you are surrounded by red mountains, snow covered mountains, Snow Canyon, lava fields (yes, lava), and lots of wildlife! We stayed with host families while we were at Entrada and they were all wonderful people who supported us all the way through the tournament. The night of the practice round we had a "family cookout" with our host families and ended the night with a few games of Rock Band. We decided we probably shouldn't quit playing golf to join a band.

Even though the weather was not typical for the time of year in Utah, we persevered and ended up with a couple quality rounds that allowed us to move up to a 4th place finish in the tournament. Congratulations to our own Hailey Koschmann who finished the tournament in 2nd place individually! Before we left Utah, we spent some time hiking through Snow Canyon and we all learned a lot about the Utah terrain and got some great pictures!

After we left the picturesque Entrada, we traveled to Mesquite, NV where we were once again stunned by the views of the mountains. None of us could have imagined what the course would be like at Wolf Creek. All of us have been playing golf for years and have never seen a place like it. Everyone said they felt like they were at an amusement park, the course was so beautiful that pictures just don't do it justice. After we played Wolf Creek we headed to the Fabulous Las Vegas, baby!

We were fortunate enough to be able to stay in a beautiful townhouse together right on one of the courses that we played. It is always nice to be able to stay together in a comfortable place. On Thursday we played the course that we were staying at: Silverstone. It was very windy that day, but we are from Champaign, so it didn't bother us! The highlight of the day was playing the longest hole in Nevada from the back tees (over 650 yards) and Samantha Sloan made par!!

Thursday night we all headed to the famous Las Vegas strip. After we had a delicious dinner at Wolfgang Puck's restaurant in Aria, Coach had a list of activities for us to do including seeing the fountain show at the Bellagio. We walked all the way up and down the strip and took lots of pictures and I finally found an Elvis! To end the night we had the best dessert ever at Jean Phillipe Patisserie inside of the Bellagio. We had such a great time and all agreed that we wanted to come back to see more of the sights someday.

On Friday, we headed to Badlands in Las Vegas. This course was one of the most challenging courses I have ever seen. You had a view of the Las Vegas strip all the way through the golf course on one side and the beautiful mountains surrounding! Throughout the week we had a little best ball competition going and Ember Schuldt came out on top with her great skills at Badlands! We also saw a lot of animals that none of us had ever encountered before: quails, jackrabbits, lizards, roadrunners, and lots of "new" plants that were surprisingly spiky.

To end the trip, we had a great time with the Illini Club of Las Vegas at Panevino. It was a wonderful restaurant with a beautiful view of the strip. Thank you to all of the alumni that came out to meet and greet us! That wraps up our Spring Break trip of 2011!

Now we head back to Champaign to practice hard for the IU invite. We are well rested and ready to get back to work to fight for an Illini victory, keep up with our progress as the season rolls on!

Go Illini!

Raquel Hopton