In the Spotlight: Hunter Ross
Ashley Hunter Ross from Richmond, Va., lettered in golf for six years at The Collegiate School and was named team MVP three times (2004, 2007 and 2008). She was named the 2006 Virginia State Golf Association Junior Golfer of the Year.
She previously played in a total of three tournaments as a member of the N.C. State Wolfpack her freshman year before transferring to the university and sitting out last season.
Photo Courtesy of Media Relations Graphic by Ken Meyer/Old Gold & Black
Why did you chose to come play at Wake Forest?
I chose Wake Forest because, in addition to its academics, it has an incredible golf program — the combination of coaches, team members and practice facilities are nearly impossible to find anywhere else.
Why did you chose to transfer from N.C. State?
I went to a fairly small high school and thought I would enjoy a school where there are always new people to meet. However, the size of N.C. State was overwhelming to me and the classes were large and impersonal. I did not enjoy the feeling of being one of many on campus and in the classroom. I missed the more personal experience that Collegiate offered me, which is why I looked at transferring to Wake Forest.
How has the golf team at Wake been different than high school and at N.C. State?
Day in and day out I play with some of the best golfers in the nation under two of the most experienced coaches. There is always something I can take away from each practice or round to improve my game. In addition, the Wake Forest golf team has an incredible practice facility, access to numerous golf courses and many supporters that help us improve. The golf team here is incredibly close but when it comes down to practice and playing everyone means business. I have never been on a more competitive, hard-working or focused team.
When, why and how did you start playing golf?
I basically started to play golf as soon as I could stand up. I grew up on the golf course and both of my parents were avid golfers so it was hard not to get into it.
What has been the most challenging aspect of your time at Wake Forest thus far?
I would have to say managing all of my classes during the semester. I find myself putting one aside to focus on another. Before I know it, I have fallen behind in that class and it is not easy to catch back up.
How would you characterize your experience playing in the ACC thus far?
The ACC is one of the most competitive and recognized conferences in the nation. Ever since I was little I wanted to be a part the ACC and I would have to say it is one of my proudest achievements.
Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?
Working as a sports agent for players I played with in college and/or went on tour with.
Do you feel like being a athlete requires you to make a lot of social or personal sacrifices?
Academics and golf are clearly priorities when it comes to life in college and I do have to make many social and personal sacrifices. However, I believe that I need to incorporate social and personal aspects into my time in order to stay happy and have the greatest chance of success in the classroom and on the golf course.
How would you characterize yourself as an athlete?
I am extremely competitive and can play just about any sport but sometimes my mind can get in the way.
What is the most challenging aspect of golf for you?
Staying mentally strong throughout the entire round.
What ACC team has presented itself as the biggest threat this season?
So far I would say Duke because they have shown the ability to post low numbers on difficult courses. Also, they are our team’s biggest rivals in the ACC so we always go into tournaments wanting to beat them.
What do you find the most exciting part of golf?
Nothing is better than hitting a shot or shooting a score that keeps you coming back for more.
If for some reason tomorrow you were no longer able to play golf, what would you aspire to?
I would like to be a sports agent for players on the developmental tours, LPGA and PGA so that I could always be around golf even if I could not play it.
What do you find to be the biggest challenge in training?
I love working on areas in workouts and golf that I excel at, but I find it much harder to push myself past the barrier of something that I find more difficult.
Is there a particular professional athlete that you have looked up to throughout your career?
When I was younger I loved to watch Annika Sorenstam play golf. I remember going out to play and pretending I was her on the golf course.
What do you think makes the golf team unique here at Wake Forest?
We all add something different to the team and it would be hard to find a group of people who get along better and support each other more than we do.
What are your personal and team goals for this season?
I want to improve my mental game and start in the spring. I think as a team we can become one of the most fit and mentally strong groups out on the course. We have a ton of potential and I believe we can repeat as ACC champs and compete for the national title.
What do you anticipate in the future for your golf career in the ACC?
I hope to play in more tournaments and maybe contribute to a third ACC victory in a row.
How do you balance your commitment to the team with the academic challenges of school?
At times I find it very difficult, but the most efficient way to go about it is to separate the two aspects. When I am in class or studying I try not to think about golf and when I am on the golf course I try not to think about school, otherwise it can be overwhelming.